Samaritan’s Purse lifts field hospital to Italy

A Samaritan's Purse plane take off for Italy. Photo provided by Samaritan's Purse

VERNONA, Italy – Samaritan’s Purse, headed by Franklin Graham, has sent a field hospital to northern Italy to tend to coronavirus patients, joining an international effort in offering aid to Italy’s overwhelmed health care system.

The DC-8 aircraft carried approximately 20 tons of medical equipment, a respiratory care unit developed specifically for this response, and 32 disaster relief personnel, including doctors, nurses, and respiratory specialists, who will stay in country for at least a month.

The Italian Defense Ministry the plane landed at the Verona airport late Tuesday. The organization sent a 68-bed field hospital, including eight intensive care beds, to be set up for three months in hard-hit Cremona province of northern Lombardy.

“We are always ready to provide critical relief in the face of crisis,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse.

Samaritan’s Purse said it is the first international organization to provide emergency medical relief to families impacted by the deadly virus in northern Italy. They said they’re providing skilled emergency medical care and working alongside local evangelical churches and chaplains to bring spiritual comfort and hope found only in the Gospel.

“We are going to Italy to provide life-saving care to people who are suffering. There is a lot of fear and panic around the world, but we trust that God is in control. We continue to pray for everyone affected by this global health crisis and for our medical team as they respond” said Graham. 

Aid groups say Italy has a severe shortage of the medical equipment needed to properly fight the coronavirus.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.