Samaritan's Purse opens emergency field hospital in northern Italy

Doctors at work in Samaritan's Purse's emergency field hospital in Cremona(Photo: Samaritan's Purse)

Samaritan's Purse is assisting efforts to stem the outbreak of coronavirus in northern Italy by setting up an emergency field hospital there.

The 68-bed unit was airlifted last week to the country, the worst hit in Europe with over 80,000 cases and over 8,000 deaths. 

The tent facility, erected in Cremona, is providing additional capacity to the overwhelmed local hospital, which has run out of beds.

The emergency field hospital was flown to Italy along with more than 20 tonnes of medical supplies.  The organisation's own DC-8 aircraft will airlift a second cargo load of medical supplies as well as disaster responders to Italy on March 21. 

The emergency facility is providing additional capacity for the overwhelmed hospital in Cremona(Photo: Samaritan's Purse)

Two UK Disaster Assistance Response Team members are also en route to join those already in Italy.

The emergency hospital has been erected directly adjacent to Cremona Hospital, which has been so inundated with coronavirus cases that it has been forced to suspend all medical care except for maternity and pediatrics. 

In an indication of the strength of the virus, Samaritan's Purse said that none of the patients treated for COVID-19 in the hospital's intensive care unit had survived. 

"The situation in Italy is desperate. The hospitals are overrun and people are dying," said Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham.

"We are called to respond in hard places. That's why our team of disaster response specialists are on the front lines—providing life-saving medical care and sharing God's love to people who are hurting."