San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Public health

Faulty electrical system forces closing of all operating rooms at San José's Hospital Mexico

A faulty 46-year-old electrical system is to blame for a decision by administrators at San José’s public Hospital México to shut down all 14 operating rooms as of Friday, the hospital’s medical director, Douglas Montero, said.

The same problem forced administrators to close seven operating rooms last week. The move comes after an engineering study found low voltage as a culprit.

“The study found that there is no certainty the rooms’ systems are working properly,” Montero said on Friday.

As a contingency measure medical staff will perform surgeries in the mornings and evenings at the Heredia Hospital and at the facilities of the National Rehabilitation Center.

Hospital México currently has a waiting list of 7,000 pending surgeries, Montero said.

“In an emergency, we can enable one operating room in the Obstetrics Department and one in Intensive Care,” he said.

Montero could not say how long it would take to reopen the rooms, but he estimated that repairs could take up to three months.

Hospital officials also will be forced to reschedule a large number of surgeries. They said they expected that rescheduled dates would be as close as possible to original appointments.

Said Montero: “We will perform surgeries in early morning hours and during evening shifts to help reduce the waiting list.”

Contact L. Arias at

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