October 17th, 2012 – Patients of the Monsenor Sanabria Hospital, in Puntarenas, are having a tough time getting used to the “new facilities.”
The parking lot in which they used to park their cars is now the outpatient area.
The hospital was one of the structures most damaged by the September 5th earthquake.
Entrance to the now-empty medical tower is forbidden, so patients and staff have had to relocate to other areas. The main lobby is now in the open air, and the OBGYN and the Labor and Delivery room is now in what used to be the nutritionists room, where 14 mothers can at least give birth without the risk of the walls falling down. Hospitalized patients were transferred to the Emergency Room.
About 150 meters from the hospital, the administrative offices are either in the open air, or in tents.
The Costa Rican Social Security System (CCSS), has a warehouse, which was previously used to store medications for the Puntarenas and Guanacaste areas, but which will become the new “hospital” for both men and women. 100 beds will be placed there, and bathrooms will also be added. The warehouse is expected to be ready as a new hospital in 2 or 3 days. It will also have an air conditioning system, which was not available in the previous hospital, and officials say the warehouse is earthquake-safe.
The government recently announced that it will build a new hospital in Barranca for the 300,000 residents of Guanacaste and Puntarenas that use the service.
The land where new hospital will be built is already available, and the financing is currently being negotiated. The president, Laura Chinchilla, has promised to expedite its construction.