Samaritan’s Purse Continues Fight Against COVID-19 in L.A. County

January 28, 2021 • United States
We continue to provide around-the-clock care for COVID-19 patients at our 54-bed unit in Los Angeles County.
We continue to provide around-the-clock care for COVID-19 patients at our 54-bed unit in Los Angeles County.

Our Emergency Field Hospital in Lancaster, California, is treating sick patients and supporting local medical workers in Southern California.

Emergency Medicine

“I was out of breath, it felt like I was suffocating,” said Randy Ramirez. “I was so sick I didn’t even want to get in the car to go to the hospital—it was hard to breathe and my heart was acting up.”

Randy was in our hospital for nearly two weeks.

Randy was in our hospital for nearly two weeks.

On Tuesday, Jan. 7, Randy Ramirez was transported by ambulance to Antelope Valley Hospital with an elevated heart rate and an oxygen level that plummeted down to 65. After being admitted, he was placed in a patient overflow section of the emergency room and waited overnight until he gained access to an available hospital bed. For nearly two weeks, he received care from doctors and nurses at Antelope Valley Hospital—battling the deadly virus and praying his condition would improve.

“People say ‘COVID is not that bad’ but you have no idea until you’re there. It’s not the same as when you are trying to hold your breath. It’s like you want to breathe but it doesn’t work,” Randy explained. “There is a compression on your chest and when you try to breathe it burns. The whole area burns.”

Randy was transferred on Jan. 17 to our Emergency Field Hospital, located in the parking lot of Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, California. (We had opened our mobile unit just the day before he arrived.) A team of two nurses transported him from their patient wards upstairs down to our field hospital. Along the route, hallway aisles were filled with patients whose beds exceeded the total capacity for the inundated hospital.


“My bed was bumping all the beds, so of course everybody was looking at me. Just to make a turn to go down the aisle they had to move beds out of the way, because there was so many,” Randy recounted. “Patients were up and down the aisles; you could see the sadness in their faces.”

Our staff are providing quality care in Jesus' Name.

Our staff are providing quality care in Jesus’ Name.

Randy arrived to one of our men’s wards overnight and immediately began to receive care from our medical team. A team of nurses and doctors monitored his symptoms and provided around-the-clock care.

“When I got in here, I was surprised. It turned out to be better than I thought. The doctor and two nurses are taking care of me,” Randy shared as he looked around the ward. “I was a little leery at first but once I saw the way they were taking care of everybody, it turned out to be really nice. God has definitely been keeping an eye on me.”

After being hospitalized for more than 10 days, Randy regained his strength and was soon discharged to return home to his family. He is one of the more than 80 patients—to date—who have received high-quality care from the Samaritan’s Purse field hospital in Lancaster, California.

On the Frontlines of COVID-19

Samaritan’s Purse continues to work hand-in-hand with Antelope Valley Hospital—bringing medical surge capacity to aid in the fight against COVID-19 in Southern California. Our 54-bed unit is not only helping patients, but also bringing urgently needed relief to medical workers at Antelope Valley Hospital; many of whom have fought the COVID-19 pandemic for more than 10 months.

Penny Hammer, director of nursing services at Antelope Valley Hospital

Penny Hammer, director of nursing services at Antelope Valley Hospital

“This has been going on almost a year and it exhausts them; [medical workers] are very stressed,” said Penny Hammer, director of nursing services at Antelope Valley Hospital. “It’s hard sometimes for them to come to work but they have a mission and they took the oath of being a nurse and they are going to do the best they possibly can for every patient that is here.”

Los Angeles County continues to see a spike in coronavirus cases. Public health officials reported that on average, 10 people in Los Angeles County test positive for COVID-19 every minute. When our field hospital opened on Jan. 16, we immediately began to treat coronavirus patients—many of whom had been sitting in the emergency room waiting to receive care.

“The first thing Samaritan’s Purse did was relieve us of 30 patients sitting in the emergency department. We were now able to move our patients who were sitting in our inpatient beds out to have Samaritan’s Purse take care of them,” Penny added. “That to us was a miracle. It gave us hope that we could get through this.”

“It gave us hope that we could get through this.”

Alongside Antelope Valley Hospital, our teams are bringing the highest level of care to coronavirus patients. Samaritan’s Purse will continue to provide emergency relief to COVID-19 patients in Los Angeles County as long as there is a need.

“Antelope Valley Hospital is the only full-service hospital in Los Angeles County’s most northern region, in addition to having one of the busiest ER’s in the state of California. Adding a pandemic on top of that, has been a trying and challenging time for the hospital and our staff,” said Ed Mirzabegian, Antelope Valley Hospital CEO. “The partnership with Samaritan’s Purse has truly been a blessing and something we wouldn’t have imagined happening so quickly as it has. It has lifted our spirits knowing we’re supported by our community and the city.”

Samaritan’s Purse is currently responding to the coronavirus pandemic on both U.S. coasts—Lancaster, California, and Lenoir, North Carolina. Please continue to pray for families with loved ones suffering from COVID-19 and for our teams serving on the frontlines of this pandemic.

All images of patients are used with their permission.

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) to hurting and vulnerable communities. We respond in the wake of natural and manmade disasters, as well as during outbreaks of infectious diseases. We also offer public health outreaches to prevent the spread of life-threatening illnesses. Most important, our teams bring the Gospel message of the Lord Jesus Christ to those who are suffering and afraid.

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