It is our privilege to celebrate the 75 years of the prestigious CLINICA BIBLICA Hospital. It was on July 14th, 1929 when the first building opened. Many important Costa Rican citizens were present. All gathered in the first floor of the new building, surrounded by bouquets sent by other institutions and individuals from around the country.
In October 1921, missionaries Enrique Strachan and Susana Beamish de Strachan arrived in Costa Rica. Enrique was a preacher all over the continent. Mrs. Strachan and a nurse who came in 1925 were touched by the deplorable health situation in San José. Mrs. Strachan wrote about the needs of poor sick people, especially children and infants. She said, “We had no idea that part of God’s plans for us was to set up a hospital”. Soon, the Lord guided to the property to build the hospital. Then, with donations, the first building could be inaugurated in 1929 as Clínica Bíblica.
In his opening speech, Enrique Strachan said, “We dedicate this Clínica Bíblica Hospital to the glory of God and for the service of humanity; I want my words to give thanks to the Lord for having helped us in building this hospital. All the glory goes to Him.”
In 1966, Franklin Cabezas published a book called Our Clinic, the history of our institution from its beginnings until 1996. Dr. Arturo Cabezas López wrote the preface, called Clínica Bíblica’s Mystique. The book includes many quotes from Dr. Cabezas, Medical Director from 1968 to 1982.
Since the publication of the book, the Clínica Bíblica has experienced amazing changes.
One significant part of this development was the buying of many properties for parking. Still, sometimes it is not possible to accommodate all visitors.
Starting on 1982, Dr. German Naranjo Cascante became Medical Director. During his service, the third building was finished on Central street, where there used to be a movie theater. Dr. Naranjo passed away in 1995 in a fly accident and so the building was dedicated to him.
Staring in 1995, Dr. Juan Baustista Pérez Valverde helped as Medical Director.
In May 1997, Bernal Aragón Barquero was appointed General Director and became President of the Costa Rican Medical Services Association (ASEMECO), the Clinic’s legal name since 1972.
The hospital’s explosive growth is shown by the number of employees: when ASEMECO took the direction 32 years ago, there were less than 100 employees, and now they are 500.
A contributing factor for this development is the relationship with the Ochsner Hospital in Louisiana, USA. This relationship gave our institution experience in the field of imagining diagnosis and other techniques.
With the support from Ochsner Hospital, ours bought state-of-the-art computerized equipment since 1994. In 2003 we bought new CT scan equipment. The Imagining Department also offers the services of ultrasound and mammography.
In 2003 the Lord gave us the possibility of buying Omega Medical Tower. This 9-floor building is located across our main location. After a thorough evaluation, we bought, remodeled and finished this fourth building. We agreed to pay the bank $ 7 000 000 within 15 years. Torre Omega has many offices for doctors, employee cafeteria, and facilities for visitors and the Hospital’s administration. The third floor houses the Laundry Department for the whole institution.
The MPM (Presence and Mission Ministries) gathers in Torre Omega where hundreds of followers offer special services for homeless people around the Hospital.
Also in 2003, we began the construction of the fifth building, the new 7-floor Hospital. The main area is located where there used to be a parking lot, along 16 Avenue. Part of it occupies the area where our historic building is. Many people cried when this area was demolished and the new construction began on March 17th.
Among the attendants were the Costa Rican President, Dr. Abel Pacheco; ASEMECO President, Jaime Cabezas; the Minister of Health, Eduardo López Cárdenas; the Major of San José, Johnny Araya; the Hospital’s General Director, Bernal Aragón; Dr. Juan Manuel Aragón; Chaplain Esthela Cevallos, Rev. Estuardo Ochoa, and many representatives from the Board of Directors and the personnel. Thanks were given to the Lord and a signed Bible was placed next to the first column.
After this building is finished, the Hospital will have nine surgery rooms, Intensive Care Unit, coronary ward and more than 90 beds for patients. Part of the building will house the Imaging Diagnosis, X-Rays, Magnetic Resonance, Laboratory, Front Desk and others. The other will house Surgery, Intensive Care, Maternity and others. The cost of this building is $ 20 000 000, to be paid in 12 or 15 years.
The Medical Director office is located nest to the Board of Directors meeting room, Nurses Director office and the EBAIS office, areas that have to deal with most of the Hospital’s operations.
The chaplain and the office of Esthela Cevallos are located on the first floor. Since our beginning 75 years ago, founders Mr. And Mrs. Strachan care for the spiritual needs of the Hospital, its staff and patients. When we publish articles, news and sign agreements, our logo is always included. In it, there is a nurse and the words: Your health... Our main concern.
Jaime Cabezas says: “we need to have technological improvements at the service of health in private practice, but we keep in mind that physical illness have a strong spiritual basis. So I want us to go back to the spiritual roots that made this Hospital possible.” Another employee wrote that: “we should under any circumstance forget about Christian principles. Let our actions be guided by the same Christian foundations that gave birth to our Hospital.”
The Chaplain and her assistants frequently visit all departments to advise and pray with staff members. Patients are also visited and offered spiritual counseling. We include relatives in our prayers and we offer them Christian literature and Bibles. They are also invited to participate in our weekly services and meditations. This is certainly part of what Dr. Arturo Cabezas calls the Clinic’s Mystique.
Members of ASEMECO are not paid for their participation in meetings and activities. Their kind hearts make them participate. This is part of the Hospital’s Social Action Department. Sometime ago, we decided to devote one third of our reservoir for the ministry with people in need in poor neighborhoods, schools, and senior shelters. The Social Action Department does not charge for these services. Last year, this type of help meant one hundred million colones plus a similar amount from donations.
Finally, we remember word from the book Our Clinic that says that each department and each person involved should be a Christian testimony so that patients start looking for God and that non Evangelical employees can likewise feel the desire to approach the Lord.