Abandoned is how the once expected ‘Hospital del Mar’ has remained. Located in the ‘Costa de Oro’ Municipality in Aragua State. This project represented a big improvement in healthcare infrastructure and would stimulate development in the area and for the inhabitants of Ocumare. It would have benefited some 20,000 people directly and indirectly every year.
By Adalberto Pérez / Lapatilla.com Correspondent
It was inaugurated in 2006 under the administration of the then governor Didalco Bolívar. Subsequently, it was completely abandoned during the mandate of Rafael Isea, and then in the period of Tareck El Aissami, it was “reinaugurated” until it was left to sink into neglect and deterioration during the years of the administration of Rodolfo Marco Torres and Karina Carpio, to the extent that it was looted.
The Hospital del Mar had a wide range of services designed to promote the health and well-being of its patients. Among the therapies and treatments that could be carried out included: therapeutic walkways, peloids (mud therapy), electrotherapy, gym, acupuncture and mesotherapy.
But this healthcare center would not be limited to physical and neurological therapies, it would also cover fields such as aesthetic medicine, rejuvenation, early stimulation, metabolism and nutrition, physiatry, naturotherapy and physiotherapy, which included both hydrotherapy and electrotherapy.
Cutting edge equipment
The facilities were equipped with specialized technology to guarantee the effectiveness of the treatments. Among the featured equipment were the Niagara, Jamaica and Mariposa bathtubs, each adapted to different needs, including quadriplegic patients. In addition, it had jet showers and fusion showers, as well as a mud shaker in the therapeutic area.
Likewise, the gym area was equipped with state-of-the-art machinery such as weight benches, escalators, hip abductor, therapeutic rolls, multi-strength and chest pulley, among other physical training equipment.
As for cardiovascular conditioning, those who visited this rehabilitation center could make use of the stair climbers, treadmills, recumbent bikes and spinning bikes, as well as equipment for occupational therapy, which plays a fundamental role in the recovery and improvement of patients.
According to the inhabitants of this Aragua State town, all these services which were offered free of charge only worked and were fully operational when it was inaugurated in 2006 and later in 2015 at the time of its reopening.
Baptized as the Bolivarian Integral Center for Medical Hydrology, the Hospital del Mar would also be used as a special tourist destination, becoming a comprehensive rehabilitation space, where people from different states of the country could receive therapy, which would lead to the use of lodging and different hosting services that Ocumare offers to its visitors.
Source of employment that did not prosper
The implementation of this project allowed the generation of 238 direct jobs, but currently only a few remain. “We still don’t know how the Hospital del Mar works. “It was going to be one of the places that would generate the most employment in Ocumare, to this day only a handful survive.”
The few workers at Hospital del Mar refused to testify, even anonymously. “This is one of the few spaces that offers employment, despite the fact that less than 10% of the initial payroll remains. If we talk about the conditions of this healthcare center, we fear reprisals from Corposalud, for this reason I hope you understand that for this reason we do not want to declare, because we want to protect our employment could expect ‘un pase de factura’ (a reprisal),” were the only words spoken by one of the people who works in this place.
“Practically, the only thing that works at Hospital del Mar is the gym, which had been dismantled during the administration of Governor Rodolfo Marco Torres. The people who manage or take care of the Hospital del Mar charge 20 dollars for those who want to use all the machines that are there,” said a resident of Ocumare who lives nearby.
He added that with the 20 dollars, the people who are in the care of this therapeutic health and rehabilitation center buy the cleaning materials that guarantee minimum conditions. “At least we know that these $20 are used for cleanup. If they do not do self-management, that would have collapsed completely,” he insisted.
Speaking about the “regulatory” center of the ‘Hospital del Mar’ that had been installed at the headquarters of Corposalud Aragua, located in Las Delicias, in north of Maracay, in order to evaluate the patients to be referred for Hydrological Therapy in case it was necessary, commented that “that did not hold up over time either.”
They paid themselves and kept the change
In 2019, in an act that generated outrage and consternation among the Ocumare on the Gold Coast community, they denounced the alleged misappropriation of essential medical equipment by a commission from the Government of Aragua State.
“This care center, attached to Corposalud, has been the victim of an unacceptable dispossession that directly affects the health and well-being of the inhabitants of the region,” recalled one of the residents of Ocumare.
The alarm went off when it was learned that this commission, supposedly sent by the government of Aragua, had entered the facilities of the Hospital del Mar with the clear intention of taking away various medical equipment, mostly Matrix brand machines.
These teams, which played a crucial role in rehabilitation and other therapies, were part of the endowment that the then governor Tareck El Aissami made in 2015, during the reopening of this medical center.
During the last campaign for governor, Karina Carpio, aspiring to be the highest state authority at the time, reported that “this assistance center will be assumed in under the government plan, hence strategies will be generated for its recovery and placed at the service of the inhabitants of the Gold Coast Municipality.”
When already elected as governor, the residents are still waiting for the fulfillment of Carpio’s promises, as well as those of Mayor Wilmer Leal, who once again promised the recovery of this space designed to meet various needs in terms of physiotherapy and comprehensive rehabilitation.
“We as residents of Ocumare de la Costa simply want this space to be what it was, to become first of all a health space and for people who require to be cared for and, in addition to that, generate more employment and above all things promote tourism, because that is what we live on, tourism,” pointed out anonymously an inhabitant of this town on the Aragua coast.