SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA – September 16th, 2012 – The Public Ministry, OIJ and the Social Security Audit department are running an investigation on the illegal use of equipment belonging to the Calderon Guardia hospital, which was used in a private clinic.
The complaint was filed by a nurse, and the Social Security National Employees Union (UNDECA, in Spanish) say they will be protecting her as well as other personnel who claim they have been intimidated.
The report, filed by an intern nurse identified by the last names Arias Vargas, states that there is a group of public hospital workers that apparently transfers equipment that is property of the Costa Rican Social Security (CCSS),to a private medical center in order to perform surgeries, despite the fact that these are to be dedicated exclusively for the use of the institution, and are assets that belong to the state.
According to the nurse, the situation has put patients at the public hospital at risk. She says that in August of last year, while she was on duty, an emergency occurred, and while in need of vascular equipment, she was informed that the equipment was not in the operating room. It had been taken out of the Hospital supposedly with the Superior Chief of Services’ permission.
“As far as we know, the nurse has been threatened, as well as other internship personnel, who have been told that if any problem were to arrive, they could lose their internship status or be transferred to another location, “ said UNDECA.
UNDECA also stated that they will be defending both the nurse, as well as the other personnel that has been intimidated, “because we believe that they have acted with the most ethical principles, morals and solidarity that all officials of the CCSS should have, as well as report and look after the public assets that belong to this country.”
“We are requesting the CCSS Executive President, the Medical Manager, and other authorities to immediately proceed as administrative and legal procedures indicate, and to immediately form a commission to investigate these serious complaints, “ said the Union.
In the meantime, the Hospital Director, Luis Paulino Hernandez, said that the complaint took him by surprise.
“If there is a need to punish, I will be very hard in doing so,” he promised.
The CCSS assigned Olger Sanchez, a sub-auditor, to investigate the case. OIJ agents also confiscated documents from Calderon Guardia, in which the permission to move the equipment in order to be used in a private facility, were given.