Franklin Graham's non-profit sets up emergency coronavirus hospital in New York's Central Park

Published 01 April 2020  |  
(Photo: Samaritan's Purse)
The pop-up hospital in the iconic park can treat up to 68 patients.

The evangelical ministry behind a new emergency coronavirus hospital erected in Central Park has been forced to give assurances that it will not discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community.

The 68-bed facility was set up by Samaritan's Purse, which is headed by evangelist Franklin Graham, an outspoken advocate of traditional.

The temporary hospital was built with the help of volunteers from local churches and is being manned by a 72-member Disaster Assistance Response Team, including doctors, nurses and other medical personnel.

It is the result of a partnership with the Mount Sinai Health System and will treat coronavirus patients from the Mount Sinai Brooklyn and Mount Sinai Queens hospitals.

The partnership came under fire from New York state Senator Brad Hoylman, who is in a same-sex marriage.

His office issued a statement putting the field hospital "on notice" and calling on the City of New York and the Mount Sinai hospital network to "monitor" the facility "to ensure there are no victims of discrimination".

"Sadly, beggars can't be choosers: New York needs every ventilator we can get," he said.

"But homophobic pastor Franklin Graham and his field hospital operation in Central Park must guarantee all LGBTQ patients with COVID-19 are treated with dignity and respect.

"We'll be watching."

He later told NBC News that it was "a shame that the federal government has left us in the position of having to accept charity from such bigots".

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday that he was sending people from his office to monitor the hospital for any signs of discrimination against LGBTQ patients.

He said he initially found Samaritan's Purse's plans "very troubling" but gave it his backing after receiving assurances that all patients would be served equally.

(Photo: Samaritan's Purse)
The field hospital was erected with the help of volunteers from local churches.

"I said immediately to my team that we had to find out exactly what was happening," de Blasio said, according to The New York Post.

"Was there going to be an approach that was truly consistent with the values and the laws in New York City, that everyone would be served and served equally?

"We've received those assurances from the organization."

It is the second coronavirus emergency field hospital to be donated by Samaritan's Purse after it flew an entire facility and staff to Italy, the worst-hit country in Europe.

New York City and New York state are the epicentre of the outbreak in the US.

Margaret Pastuszko, executive vice president of Mount Sinai Health System said she was "grateful" for the partnership with Samaritan's Purse.

"In order to meet the needs of the coming surge, we must work as a united front in order save as many lives as possible," she said.

"We are grateful for the collaboration with Samaritan's Purse who have come to the aid of the people of Italy and now New York.

"Through this partnership, we are leveraging our collective resources to care for our patients and community."

Graham said that all patients treated at the pop-up hospital would be treated the same.

"Samaritan's Purse treats everyone we help the same," he told NBC News.

"We do not make distinctions about an individual's religion, race, sexual orientation, or economic status. We certainly do not discriminate, and we have a decades-long track record that confirms just that.

"This is a time for all of us to unite and work together, regardless of our political views. Let's support one another during this crisis, and we pray that God will bless the efforts of all those battling this vicious virus."

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