Kenny Adcock, director of Truett Conference Center and Camp, spent more than a week helping oversee the setup of an emergency field hospital in Central Park with Samaritan’s Purse – what he called “an unprecedented endeavor.”
As of April 9, Samaritan’s Purse medical team members had treated more than 80 COVID-19 patients.
Samaritan’s Purse opened the 68-bed emergency field hospital to assist an overwhelmed health care system, specifically in partnership with Mount Sinai Hospital, in fighting a surge in COVID-19 cases. New York City had more than 104,400 cases, 27,670 hospitalized patients and 6,180 COVID-19 related deaths as of April 12 according to nyc.gov.
“This hospital was not meant or intended to set up in the continental U.S.,” Adcock said. “It was always intended for it to go internationally and be set up in a location where either there was no hospital network in the area that needed help, or the hospital infrastructure in the immediate area that had been affected was down and not functioning.”
Opening a field hospital stateside held unique challenges, Adcock told the Biblical Recorder in a phone interview April 9. There were certain permit requirements and government logistics to navigate, but Adcock said New York City officials were efficient and helpful, particularly with getting electricity running.
“What took place in about 12 hours typically takes about eight years for approval and for it to actually happen,” he said.
Adcock previously served with Samaritan’s Purse from 2013 to 2017. He started as a program manager overseeing domestic disaster relief efforts and then later transitioned to international disaster relief work, serving as emergency field hospital readiness manager.
This setup involved coordinating not only with local government but Central Park officials, Adcock said. “The park itself, we discovered, was kind of its own world. … They were very gracious in working with us and allowing to come in and set up there in the park, just because it’s such a protected space.”
Adcock, who has been on staff at Truett Conference Center and Camp since 2017, answered a request from Samaritan’s Purse for assistance since he had prior experience as a manager and because Samaritan’s Purse personnel were already deployed in Italy, where the organization opened a similar emergency field hospital in March.
He told the Recorder he was grateful to the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina for an “attitude of cooperation with other Christian organizations in allowing me to be a part of this and to go and to serve and help as the bigger picture of being the hands and feet of Christ.”