Cardiologist tells lawmakers of unacceptable deaths

The drama of the dead heart patients reached the legislature Thursday when Sofía Bogantes testified.

She is the chief of cardiology at Hospital México and the woman who went public last month to say that more than 100 patients died because they did not receive treatment quickly enough.

She told lawmakers Thursday that she reported her concerns about an extensive waiting list nearly two years ago. She told lawmakers that 138 patients died before they could receive the procedure.

They were suppose to receive angioplasty in which a catheter is placed in an artery or vein to widen it and permit passage of more blood.

“All of these patients are dead, none carried a terminal disease. All were evaluated by a cardiologist who gave clear indications of the

catheter procedure,” she said. All of the patients received an order for the procedure with the promise that they would be called for the operation, she added, saying that they all died waiting for the procedure that could have saved their lives.

The testimony was before a special commission to investigate the allegations against the hospital administration. The committee asked her to return Monday.

She said that a waiting period of five years was not acceptable and was inhumane. She said that now physicians are doing the procedure on five or six patients a day to reduce the size of the waiting list. The problems with the procedures was the lack of materials including catheters.

Waiting times are chronic at Caja hospitals. Costa Ricans show up at 4 a.m. each day to secure an appointment. One reader reported this week that his elderly Costa Rican mother-in-law spent 14 days with a broken hip in a hospital before an operation could be done.

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