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Sunday, July 27, 2008

San Felipe Hospital Saving Lives

In 2001, Dr. Lowell M. Somers and his wife, Caroline Thorsen, a nurse, built San Felipe Hospital, which was then known as St. James Infirmary. Their mission was to enhance the health and well-being of the residents of the city of San Felipe by providing excellent medical care.

In 2006, however, the hospital was sold to a new owner, Carlos Kuttler, because of ongoing administration difficulties. According to Carlos, the hospital was in fine condition when he bought it, but lacked good administration. Now Carlos is actively involved in running the hospital and can usually be found there during the evenings. “Since I’ve owned the hospital, I have personally seen several lives saved. One was that of a friend’s wife, who had a bike accident and arrived at the hospital in critical condition. Another was that of a man who had a heart attack and through a series of events was transported to a medical facility where the oxygen and medicine he needed were not available. Staff members of San Felipe Hospital were called to assist and they rushed to stabilize and transport him to a nearby ER.”

In two years, the hospital has improved in many ways. Ultrasound and MRI equipment have been added and much of the medical equipment has been replaced with newer and more advanced technologies. The hospital has a fully equipped ambulance for transporting patients to a hospital in Mexico in the event that additional care is required. It also has a fully functional surgery room, maternity and gynecology services, X-RAY, CAT SCAN, Mammogram, and Sonogram equipment, and a fully equipped laboratory. In addition, the hospital was recently approved to keep a blood bank on site. Future plans include hiring a resident intern, doubling the bed capacity, and providing assisted-living services.

The hospital’s services are available to both visitors and residents of Mexico who do not have health insurance. It accepts Escolar Insurance for locals and Viva America Insurance for foreigners. Patients who carry their own insurance will be reimbursed the costs incurred in hospital by their insurance companies.

Currently the profitability of the hospital is marginal, largely because of the lack of patients, but the hospital is in the process of making the public more aware of all the services it can provide. The members of the medical community could help immensely if they would bring their patients to the hospital first, instead of immediately transporting them to Mexican medical facilities.
The San Felipe Hospital is open during the summer for 16 hours a day, from 8:00 am to midnight, and for 24 hours a day during the rest of the year.

The hospital would be extremely grateful for your financial help. Please assist by sending donations directly to the hospital administration. In addition, English-speaking volunteers are always needed to assist with translation services.

Av. Mar Negro Sur No. 1285, Seccion Mar de Cortez, San Felipe Baja California, Mexico C.P. 21850, 686-111-5859.