Seven high-level hospital officials, including the director general, at the country’s oldest hospital, the San Juan de Dios Hospital in San José, were suspended last week while allegations of corruption, disorder and mismanagement are investigated.
Doryan Garrón, executive president of Costa Rica’s Social Security System (Caja), which runs the nation’s public hospitals, told the daily La Nacíon “there is a systematic problem in the administration of the hospital,” though he remained vague on specifics.
“The word to describe the management situation is ‘tangled’ – and because of this, the hospital hasn’t been able to progress,” he said.
The last major crisis at the hospital involved anesthesiologists, who, because of labor issues, quit and left 7,000 patients waiting up to 40 months for surgery. That crisis continues unabated – leading to poor treatment and service for the hospital’s thousands of patients per month.
Problems cited include a lack of control and effective administration, preventing the implementation of important safety and security infrastructure and leading to the mismanagement of inventory and medicines.
Lack of fire safety infrastructure – a major flaw of many of the country’s hospitals (TT, June 8), was cited as one of the reasons.
Such issues, according to Garrón, were the basis for an internal audit of the hospital and the reason for the suspensions.
The hospital, he assured, will remain open for patients throughout the investigation, which is expected to take one year.