Franklin Graham traveled to New York City May 7 to thank Samaritan’s Purse doctors and nurses as they officially begin to close down the Emergency Field Hospital in Central Park.
“We thank God that the coronavirus caseload has decreased to a level the hospital here can handle, and we are preparing to disinfect and pack up the tents,” Franklin posted on Facebook.
The 14-tent, 68-bed respiratory care unit opened on April 1 and was designed specifically for coronavirus response. In a little over a month, the Samaritan’s Purse medical team treated over 300 COVID-19 patients in partnership with the Mount Sinai Health System, including 190 at the field hospital.
The field hospital’s last coronavirus patient was discharged on May 5.
“While this crisis is far from over, this marks a significant turning point in the coronavirus outbreak in New York that gives us assurance that we are returning towards normalcy,” read a joint statement from Mount Sinai Health System and Samaritan’s Purse. “We are grateful to have fought the coronavirus together alongside the courageous people of New York City.”
While some speculated the closure of the field hospital was influenced by angry LGBTQ advocates, Franklin explained that the decision to end operations in Central Park was made weeks ago.
“The backlash had nothing to do with it,” he told Faithwire May 4. “We have been planning with Mount Sinai for the last two weeks, closing either this week or next week. It was going to be based on patient load and nothing else.”
Brittany Akinsola served as a nurse with Samaritan’s Purse at the Central Park field hospital. Throughout her weeks of service, she experienced New Yorkers’ thoughtful hospitality, but also saw the vitriol, stoked by some New York officials and special interest groups, toward the Christian organization for its Biblical statement of faith.
During a National Day of Prayer service at the White House, Akinsola shared Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (NIV).
“The harvest that I’m believing for our country is one of restoration and hope,” she added. “I am believing for healing in the Name of Jesus, and I am believing that unity would thrive during this time.”
Photo: Courtesy of Samaritan's Purse