Up until now, the nearest hospital to us was the public CAJA facility, Enrique Baltodano Hospital, located 45 minutes away, deep inside the town of Liberia. However, to better serve Guanacaste's growing population, Hospital CIMA has finally opened it's doors on a new, modern hospital and touts a 24/7 ER, lab and faramacia. Located adjacent to the Do-It Center, it is just a short drive from Playas del Coco and Hermosa.
This projected is designed to be completed in multiple phases. Residents should look upon this new hospital as the first place to go in the event something serious befalls you. This hospital will be able to provide patient stabilization and care, and in the event a patient needs anything more extensive, an onsite heliport is available for transport to a more appropriate facility.
According to Gustavo Lee, operations manager of the medical centre, "the new centre is the best medical option in the North Pacific". The new hospital is generating some 70 jobs, which most of the hiring will be from the local areas.
The hospital is located in the Pacific Plaza (http://www.pacificplazacr.com/ingles/index.html). Although the initial capacity has only six hospital beds, it can quickly be expanded to 18 beds. The new medical centre will also have a laboratory, pharmacy, radiology department, an emergency room and operating rooms and will serve the 270,000 permanent residents of the area and some 500,000 tourists on holiday or who are temporary residents in Guanacaste.
The opening of the Hospital CIMA in Guanacaste will allow health specialists to offer their services at a first class hospital and with cutting-edge medical equipment.
BUT WAIT... THERE'S MORE!
In addition to the CIMA opening, there is another medical facility in Liberia called San Rafael Arcángel Medical Center (view using Google Chrome to auto translate). This is another private medical solution that is in a constant state of growth and renovation. It provides both in-patient and out-patient services, surgeries etc. It is an incredible alternative to the public hospital.
Check out this recent article from July 27, 2012's Tico Times which talks about the newly renovated facility. LINK
BUT YOU STILL HAVE TO GET THERE!!!
In my past life, I was an EMT/Paramedic for over 10 years and taught CPR to more than a thousand individuals. The one thing that I would preach to all my students over and over is, "if you are having a medical emergency, call 911. NEVER ATTEMPT TO DRIVE YOURSELF OR HAVE A FRIEND DRIVE YOU." It is the worst decision you can make.
But now I need to reverse myself. Time for me to do a flip-flop. For living where I do, 911 service, while technically available, is slow, inept, understaffed. Emergency personnel may never even make it to your location. If you have any chance of surviving a medical crisis, you best get your ass to the hospital by any means possible and don't rely on 911. Please keep in mind, I am not denigrating 911 service throughout all of Costa Rica, I am referring to the conditions in my area (northern Guanacaste) only.
Perhaps we should just be thankful that there are now two incredibly modern, first world medical facilities at our disposal.