As a part of the ongoing expansion of the private Clínica Bíblica Hospital in downtown San José, administrators dedicated a new building to two brothers hospital officials said saved the hospital from closure in 1968.
“Today, we are celebrating. We have a new building,” said Jorge Cortés, the hospital’s Medical Director, in his welcoming speech July 20.
Though the entire seven-story, 18,000-square-meter building is not yet finished, some floors have been opened and integrated into the hospital’s functions. According to Susana Guzmán, spokeswoman for the hospital, the $25 million building is being opened in phases, which should conclude next year. The fourth and fifth floors have already been opened, and consist of state of-the-art hospital rooms.
“You could say that it is an intelligent building, built with the highest standards of quality, to international standards,” Guzmán said, adding that when the building is completed, it will add 95 patient rooms to the Clínica Bíblica’s capacity.
“The new building represents Clínica Bíblica’s leadership as a institution of health, not only in Costa Rica, but in the Central American and Latin American region,” Cortés told The Tico Times. “It is the most modern, the most secure, and the most technologically advanced.”
The doctor added that Clínica Bíblica is currently in the process of applying for certification from the Joint Commission on
Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, which he said certifies 80% of the hospitals in the United States. Costa Rica is the second country in Latin America to enter the process behind Brazil, Cortés said.
“This guarantees quality and security for our patients, and is a guarantee that we comply with international quality standards,” he said.
The new building was officially named the Cabezas López Building, after the Cabezas López brothers who stepped up to take over the hospital when the original founding organization was planning to close it in 1968.
Founded in 1929 by Christian missionaries Henry and Susan Strachner, a Scottish-Irish couple, the hospital was slated to close when the missionaries decided to move on to more needy countries in 1968.
Enríque Cabezas, 82, a U.S.-educated Costa Rican engineer and architect, approached the missionaries with a group of investors and asked for permission to form an association to continue the administration of the hospital.
With the mission’s permission, they founded the Association of Costa Rican Medical Services (ASEMECO) – which owns of the hospital – and Enrique served as the president of the association’s board of directors. He also designed most of the hospital’s buildings.
His brother, Dr. Arturo Cabezas, 84, who studied medicine at various universities in the United States before returning to Costa Rica in 1956, began working at Clínica Bíblica in 1957 and took over as the hospital’s medical director in 1968.
“If it weren’t for them, the Clínica Bíblica would not have been available for the thousands of people who have needed it,” said Dr. Roberto Rodríguez, a member of the ASEMECO board of directors.
“Of course it is an honor,” Enrique Cabezas told The Tico Times following the dedication. “But like I have been told, these kind of honors should be for the deceased, so what can I say to that? It is an honor, nothing more, and I am very thankful.”