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With Field Hospital, Franklin Graham, Samaritan's Purse Meet Desperate Need in Quake Aftermath

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HATAY, Turkey – After two massive earthquakes shook Turkey on February 6th, Samaritan's Purse, headed by Franklin Graham, deployed one of its state-of-the art field hospitals to the hardest-hit area.  

In a disaster of the magnitude of the quakes in Turkey and Syria, time is of the essence. Within days, the Samaritan's Purse hospital was on its way to Hatay. It was set up in less than 36 hours, and just one week after the earthquake, was fully operational. 

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Samaritan's Purse Operations Manager Damon Tripp explained how it happened. “I like to say it’s like we fly with a city.  Everything that we bring on our plane we’re ready to go when we hit the ground.  We bring everything we need except some sort of water…the only thing we need is some sort of water and diesel.  And if we don’t have diesel, we know how to make it.  Our goal is to set up within 24 to 72 hours max.”

Media Relations Specialist Stephen Sneed set the scene for CBN News as he showed us the ICU step-down unit. 

“It’s always amazing to see an empty parking lot turn into a lifesaving facility such as our emergency field hospital," he said.

Sneed said the patients served by the hospital numbers in the hundreds.

“We’ve seen patients really across the board, men, women, children … We’ve also seen people with infections.  During the initial earthquake, a lot of people were injured and wounded and with a lack of proper health care, there’s been no way for them to really receive treatment in a timely manner.” 

The field hospital is set up next to an 1,100-bed facility put out of commission by the quake. 

Sneed explained, “This was the main health care for this region and now that it’s no longer operable, we’re really treating all of the needs from a health care perspective that exists. So, whether it’s high blood pressure issues, whether it’s respiratory issues, people not having access to their medications now that their homes have been destroyed – so, across the board, we’re just seeing everything.” 

The hospital provides 52 beds and four ICU units. It also includes an E.R., a pharmacy, a lab and operating rooms, all run by a team of nurses, a support staff, and doctors such as emergency room physicia Dr. Chris Brandenburg.  

“For us, it’s blessing for us being here, helping these people," Brandenburg said.  "They’ve been extremely appreciative to us. I’m thankful to Samaritan’s Purse and all that they are doing to treat these people. When you talk about being a time of need for medical and trauma care, you’re not going to get bigger than this.” 

They're providing care for patients like Hidayet Ok and Yusuf Can.

Ok told us, "They helped me a lot. I've never seen treatment like this before, so I feel really revived."

“We have to thank all these people, all this organization, this hospital," Can said.

President and C.E.O. Franklin Graham also visited the facility.

“What it does for your heart to see this team that has come from around the world that’s assembled, doctors and nurses in Jesus name, and to help the people of Turkey. And we’re so grateful for the help of the Turkish government and all the agencies here in Turkey have been incredible to work with,” Graham said.

All the staff and facilities have one purpose, according to Tripp.  

"It’s a great opportunity to serve people that are hurting, bring in some hope and healing," he said.

Graham believes it's important to pray for the people of Turkey. 

“They’re still suffering," he observed. "It’s still cold at night. They’re suffering, and just pray that God will allow us and the others to be able to reach them and help them to save life.” 

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