Emergency Field Hospital Opens in Western North Carolina

January 7, 2021 • United States

The Samaritan’s Purse 30-bed emergency unit is supporting nearby medical centers as they reach capacity due to rising coronavirus hospitalizations.

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The first patient is wheeled into our Emergency Field Hospital in Lenoir, North Carolina.

The first patient is wheeled into our Emergency Field Hospital in Lenoir, North Carolina.

Updated Jan. 7: The Emergency Field Hospital has opened in Lenoir, North Carolina, and our medical team is already treating patients from surrounding communities. We expect a steady influx of patients to arrive over the next several days as we help five [now six as of Jan. 18] regional healthcare systems respond to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

“These hospitals have come to us for help because they are full, and case numbers continue to rise,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse. “This is our home state, and we appreciate the frontline workers battling COVID day in and day out. We are glad that we can be there to help lift the load. Our medical team is going to help provide professional, compassionate, and quality care to every patient who is sent to us.”

SAMARITAN’S PURSE RESPONDS TO COVID-19

Our teams are caring for patients around the clock.

Our teams are caring for patients around the clock.

The mobile unit is staffed by our team of disaster relief personnel, including doctors, nurses, and other healthcare specialists. Patients receiving treatment at our site will be limited to those who are COVID-positive but do not need the support of a ventilator.

The field hospital was transported on New Year’s Day from our warehouse in North Wilkesboro via Samaritan’s Purse tractor trailers. It sits on the grounds of Caldwell UNC Health Care, a site chosen for its central location.

This marks the fourth time we have operated a field hospital in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic (New York City; Italy; the Bahamas).

Please continue to pray for all those suffering with COVID-19 and for our medical teams providing critical care.

Jan 5: Edward Graham, assistant to the vice president of programs and government relations for Samaritan’s Purse, traveled to Lenoir this week to encourage the team setting up the field hospital.

Edward Graham and executives from five partnering healthcare systems visit the Samaritan's Purse Emergency Field Hospital in Lenoir, North Carolina.

Edward Graham and executives from five partnering healthcare systems visit the Samaritan’s Purse Emergency Field Hospital in Lenoir, North Carolina.

“Like the rest of the country and especially here in western North Carolina, COVID has ravaged the healthcare system,” he said, while meeting with Samaritan’s Purse staff and leaders from local healthcare systems.

“Caldwell UNC Health Care reached out to Samaritan’s Purse about partnering and setting up one of our field hospitals, and that is what we are doing,” he said. “I’m so excited and encouraged to be here with our incredible medical teams. These are challenging times, but we are excited to be serving in the Name of Jesus Christ. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to love on our fellow neighbors here in North Carolina with great medical care and to do this to share the hope of Jesus Christ. We appreciate your prayers and support.”

Top executives of the five healthcare systems we’re partnering with also visited the hospital as our teams were busy putting the final details into place before receiving COVID-19 patients.

Laura Easton, president and CEO of Caldwell UNC Health Care, said the recent jump in COVID-19 cases is already pushing the medical center past capacity.

“All of our staff have really been putting in 110 percent. For example, in our hospital we normally have about 55 patients each day, and today we have 107. We are absolutely at double capacity which means our staff is all working overtime in non-traditional settings taking care of patients.”


Easton emphasized the importance of communities all working together during the COVID-19 crisis.

“This battle against COVID is really a community-wide and region-wide effort,” she said. “Now, with the arrival of Samaritan’s Purse and the personnel that they are bringing, this is a national effort. It takes all of us working together.”

Members of the Lenoir Fire Department assisted our staff with set up of the Emergency Field Hospital.

Members of the Lenoir Fire Department assisted our staff with set up of the Emergency Field Hospital.

The five regional medical partners that we are working with are:

  • Caldwell UNC Health Care (Lenoir)
  • Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (Boone)
  • Catawba Valley Health System (Hickory)
  • Carolinas Healthcare System Blue Ridge (Morganton)
  • Frye Regional Medical Center (Hickory)

“On behalf of all the health systems participating in this effort, I’d like to thank Samaritan’s Purse for making this investment in the well-being of our communities,” said Laura Easton. “Planning for this added capacity now will help us provide the level of care our communities need as volumes continue to grow in our region.”

The EFH will be staffed by our team of disaster relief personnel, including doctors, nurses, and other healthcare specialists.

The EFH will be staffed by our team of disaster relief personnel, including doctors, nurses, and other healthcare specialists.

Eleven volunteers from the Lenoir Fire Department served with us on Jan. 2. Ken Hair, the department’s chief, said, “This is our community. It (the Emergency Field Hospital) is being set up at the hospital less than 1 mile away from our station. We are all public servants, and this is our job—to do what we can to help during the pandemic. We are affected like everyone else, and we’ve got to do what we can to help.”

“We are very thankful for Samaritan’s Purse,” he continued, “and grateful to do this in our community.”

Please pray for communities impacted by this outbreak, for medical workers providing care, and for our teams and medical staff as they serve in Jesus’ Name.

Note: The international headquarters of Samaritan’s Purse is located in Boone, North Carolina. This story was originally published on Jan. 1 and then updated on Jan. 2, 5, and 7.

A Samaritan's Purse tractor trailer arrives in Lenoir, N.C., with materials for the Emergency Field Hospital.

A Samaritan’s Purse tractor trailer arrived Jan. 1 in Lenoir, North Carolina, with materials for the Emergency Field Hospital.

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We began today receiving patients at the respiratory care unit.
Emergency Medicine Your gift will enable Samaritan’s Purse to provide life-saving medical care (including doctors, nurses, respirators, and other essential equipment) in places where vulnerable communities are suffering in the wake of disaster or from outbreaks of infectious diseases like COVID-19. We also offer public health outreaches to prevent the spread of life-threatening illnesses. Most importantly, we are able to bring the Gospel message of eternal hope to those who are suffering and afraid.

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