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Italy: Caring Hands Bring Comfort During Pandemic

“I felt weird, and I started coughing and coughing and coughing,” said Maria, a coronavirus patient at the Samaritan’s Purse Emergency Field Hospital in Italy.

Maria, left, is grateful for the care she received at our hospital.

After several days of consistent cough, fever and lack of appetite, Maria’s husband admitted her to the emergency room at Cremona Hospital, our partner facility in northern Italy’s Lombardy region.

Hours later, Maria, still very sick, was unable to get a hold of her husband after many failed attempts. The police arrived at their apartment to find that he had passed away unexpectedly — likely due to the same virus that debilitated Maria.

“This is completely inexplicable because he was doing well, he was OK — I was the one sick,” Maria said. “When I will be better, when I will be discharged from the hospital, the only thing I can do is going to the cemetery and saying hi.”

Maria was admitted to our respiratory care unit without any remaining family nearby to come visit her. Samaritan’s Purse doctors and nurses became a surrogate family.

The team continually prays that Maria would feel loved and comforted as they provide medical care in the Name of Jesus. “They have been very good — they are so nice to me. When they pray, it feels very nice,” Maria said. “I would say that my hope is a little bit increased. They are doing a great job, and I am thankful.”

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A Fight For Hope

Eerie silence crowds the streets of Italy, only interrupted by the periodic whine of an ambulance.

“That is the only sound you hear during the lockdown — ambulances and helicopters,” said Davide, a member of the Cremona community. “It is terrifying because you do not know if it is your mother or your brother on that ambulance or helicopter — it is devastating.”

Davide was born in the Cremona hospital, and now wants to serve however he can during the coronavirus crisis.

Twenty-one years ago, Davide was born in the city of Cremona, at Cremona Hospital where we’re working today. “This is my city, this is my culture, this is my people,” Davide said. “They gave me so much, they gave me values, culture, food — good food — they gave me everything.”

Now, he has seen the city he loves destroyed by an “invisible enemy” in the past several months.

Samaritan’s Purse continues to fight against COVID-19. “They are not surrendering at all,” Davide said. “They are working, they are fighting with us and this is amazing — it’s a sense of relief.”

Davide is joining that fight and giving back to his community by serving as a translator and base assistant alongside Samaritan’s Purse. “I was reading the local newspaper and I saw the first page, which says ‘Samaritans are coming.’ I thought, man, now things are going to change,” he said.

“This means hope,” Davide said. “It’s wonderful — simply wonderful. We were putting all of our effort to make this change and to save people’s lives. But, at the end we figured out that we weren’t able to do that by ourselves. Knowing that Samaritan’s Purse is here to help us, it almost makes me fall in tears.”

The coronavirus-related death toll in Italy remains the highest of any nation in the world as of April 5. Please continue to pray for God’s wisdom and protection as Samaritan’s Purse provides critical aid on the front lines of this deadly virus in Italy and New York City.

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