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Kristy Graham, host of On the Ground with Samaritan’s Purse podcast, started out early in the morning from Samaritan’s Purse International Headquarters in the mountains of North Carolina. She met up with a team loading relief supplies onto the Samaritan’s Purse DC-8 cargo plane in Greensboro, North Carolina.
After loading the plane, Kristy, along with other medical staff and disaster responders, headed out to the disaster zone in the Bahamas. While on the plane, she talked to Ken Isaacs, who serves as the vice president of programs and government relations for Samaritan’s Purse, about the disaster experiences he has witnessed.
They landed in Nassau, then jumped on the Samaritan’s Purse helicopter to fly to Freeport, Grand Bahama, where the organization set up an Emergency Field Hospital. Kristy was greeted by Dr. Elliott Tenpenny, who serves as the medical director for the Emergency Field Hospital in the Bahamas. She spoke with him about how Hurricane Dorian has affected the country, and he gave her a tour of the tent facility. Certified as a Tier 2 facility, it is equipped with surgeons, physicians, nurses, pharmaceutical staff, and biotech engineers to provide outstanding medical care.
While at the hospital, Kelly Suter, a clinical manager for Samaritan’s Purse, shared how everyone serving is all hands on deck. To each of them, dedication looks like 18-hour days, working around the clock to set up the Emergency Field Hospital, and eating Meals Ready to Eat (MREs). They are devoted to bringing relief to victims of the Category 5 hurricane.
Kristy had the opportunity to speak with two people who received critical medical care at the Emergency Field Hospital. Troy, a man who helped rescue over 100 people from the flood waters, came in to receive treatment for a badly infected cut on his arm. He even helped his neighbor, who was paralyzed from the waist down, out of the disaster. Dwane, whose son had his appendix removed in surgery, told Kristy the story of how his son’s life was saved. His son felt unbearable pain in his side, and surgeons in the Emergency Field Hospital performed the emergency appendectomy surgery in less than two hours.
- A genrous-hearted local donated his hanger to the organization, and Samaritan's Purse hung a makeshift sign with duct tape for full-access use.
- More than 615,000 pounds of supplies have been unloaded and used for the islands affected by Hurricane Dorian.
- At its maximum deployed capacity, the Samaritan's Purse Emergency Field Hospital spans nearly an acre of land and functions as a full hospital.
- The compacted Emergency Field Hospital is heavy, and requires multiple people for set up.
- Disaster response specialists unload Samaritan's Purse cargo that the U.S. Navy and USAID transported for our team.
- The Samaritan's Purse Emergency Field Hospital runs 24/7. Already, more than 2,500 patients have recieved critical medical care.
- In Freeport, Grand Bahama, medical supplies were unloaded by members of the DART for patients in the Emergency Field Hospital.
- Before the Emergency Field Hospital in the Bahamas received patients, men and women worked day and night to assemble the Tier 2 facility.
- Kelly Suter, a clinical manager for Samaritan's Purse, makes patient care her number one priority.
- Our DART includes electrical engineers, who ensure electricity is calibrated correctly for the Emergency Field Hospital.
Barb Rash, a long-time Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) member, explained to Kristy how God has allowed her the opportunity to serve in many countries, including the Bahamas, Ecuador, and Iraq. She felt God has been preparing her throughout her whole life to serve.
The DART was joined by chaplains from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to help patients and their families with emotional and spiritual care. Kevin, one of the chaplains, shared about their ministry inside the tent hospital. He encouraged patients to talk about their trauma and to put their trust in God.
Kristy reluctantly pulled herself away from the Emergency Field Hospital and traveled to the organization’s base of operations on Marsh Harbour in the Abaco Islands. She was speechless as she witnessed the severity of the wreckage: communities reduced to piles of rubble; brick and concrete buildings completely demolished; and landscapes flattened.
- Barb Rash, long time DART member, works diligently in the lab to provide the best care for every patient in the Emergency Field Hospital.
- Kristy Graham interviews Dr. Elliott Tenpenny on the ground at the Emergency Field Hospital.
- More than 2,500 patients have been seen by our team of surgeons, physicians, nurses, and pharmaceutical staff.
- As a Category 5 storm, Hurricane Dorian brought massive devastation to Abaco, with dozens of fatalities and many still missing.
- Disaster response specialists prepare to sling load critical relief supplies to hard-to-reach islands.
- Before a full day of treating patients at the Emergency Field Hospital, medical personnel gather to pray and worship.
- Aboard the DC-8 cargo plane, Kristy Graham interviews Ken Isaacs for the podcast "On the Ground with Samaritan's Purse." Isaacs serves as vice president of programs and government relations for Samaritan's Purse and shares his story from the cargo hold.
- Since September 10, 2019, more than 2,500 patients have recieved medical care at the Emergency Field Hospital in the Bahamas.
- More than 50 men and women, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, electricians, and logisticians keep the Emergency Field Hospital running each day.
- The Emergency Field Hospital in the Bahamas can provide up to 10 surgeries a day and treat more than 100 people.
- Morning devotions for those serving with the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) are held amongst tents and medical cargo.
- Medical staff in the triage ward of the Emergency Field Hospital take care of those affected by Hurricane Dorian. Isaiah 58:10-11 "If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as noonday. And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail."
- Rand Memorial Hospital, the regional hospital on Grand Bahama, was severely damaged during Hurricane Dorian. The Samaritan's Purse Emergency Field Hospital is now filling the gap as they rebuild and recover.
- Kristy Graham, host of the pocast, "On the Ground with Samaritan's Purse", visited the Bahamas on September 10, 2019, to experience a day in the life of a disaster response specialist and hear the stories of those affected by Hurricane Dorian.
- Kristy Graham, host of "On the Ground with Samaritan's Purse," talks with Bev Kauffeldt about her experience as the team lead in the Bahamas.
- Two children out of 4,228 people who received hygiene kits in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian.
- Chaplain Kevin Williams, from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, shared the Gospel with this young man inside the Emergency Field Hospital.
- Before the day begins, the medical team gathers to encourage each other and lift one another up in prayer.
- Pilots safely landed the DC-8 in the Bahamas, loaded with heavy duty tarps, hygiene kits, medical staff, and disaster responders.
The team on the ground worked tirelessly, unloading and organizing supplies to provide them to hurting families in the worst-affected areas in the Bahamas. Although the team never stopped moving, Kristy talked with Bev Kauffeldt, the DART leader in the country, who spoke only of the goodness of God and His provision. Bev has been with the organization for over 20 years, but describes the differences of each disaster.
The work is far from over, but everyone can be a part of it by partnering with our team in prayer.
An Inside Look
Do you feel that God is calling you to be a part of the crucial disaster relief with Samaritan’s Purse? Apply to be a member of DART, Disaster Assistance Response Team.
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Read more stories from the Bahamas here.
Do you want to know more about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Learn more about peace with God here.