July 12, 2005 [LINK]

Hospital fire in Costa Rica

At least eighteen people died after a fire broke out in the Calderon Guardia Hospital in downtown San Jose Costa Rica last night. Most of the fourth and fifth floors were burned out, and many patients who were physically incapacitated were trapped. Somehow, they managed to keep the hospital operating during the fire, so that some victims were treated on site, although many had to be transferred to other hospitals in the capital city. See Tico Times Online (not a permalink). That tragedy has special meaning to Jacqueline and me because we stayed at a lodging establishment (Kap's Place, very nice and friendly) located only two blocks from that hospital, which we walked by at least 15 times during our vacation last February and March. There is a bakery right across the street where we used to snack, and we saw many doctors and nurses eating there. Costa Rica has one of the most advanced social services sectors in all of Latin America, and the "Ticos" take pride in their country's medical and technical know-how.