Hospitals under attack with fires, bomb threats

The Central Valley’s public hospitals are under attack, and investigators are trying to locate those responsible before there is a tragedy.

Hospital San Juan de Dios has been the target of a series of small fires. And now there are bomb threats targeting different hospitals and phoned in via the 911 system.

Hospital officials are nervous because some of the fire alarm systems are defective. In addition, a fire at Hospital Calderón Guardia killed 19 persons July 12, 2005.

The hospitals are run by the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social. The Judicial Investigating Organization said Tuesday that it was responding to the complaint.

There were cases where someone disconnected the electrical systems at certain hospitals, presumably to inactivate the alarms, said agents. They are considering that those responsible have some link with the hospitals.

The bomb threats have proven to be false, but they still have resulted in response by emergency crews and police. Staff members had to evacuate patients in some cases.

Judicial agents said they were working with hospital security crews to tighten access, although hundreds of persons visit each hospital daily.

The union representing hospital workers has expressed its hope that those responsible are found quickly.

But the union also staged a walkout Tuesday at Hospital México to protest what it says are arbitrary hiring practices. Affected were pharmacies, food services and other non-medical activities.

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