SANTIAGO, Chile - A health director was fired Tuesday for allowing Chile’s president to come inaugurate a public hospital even though it apparently was so poorly prepared, it had to borrow beds from a nearby facility and have one of its employees pose as a patient.

President Michelle Bachelet presided over the opening of the hospital in the town of Curepto, 330 kilometres south of Santiago, on Feb. 29. Standing by her side was regional health director Gerardo Herrera.

But Chilean media later reported that the hospital had borrowed its beds and that one of the “patients” interviewed by reporters at the inauguration was really a hospital worker.

“You don’t lie to the 10,000 residents of Curepto, and you don’t like to the president,” Bachelet spokesman Francisco Vidal said. “What ultimately is very good for Curepto … is lost as a result of the foolishness of handing it over when it isn’t ready.”

Herrera had given assurances “in writing” that the hospital was ready, Vidal said.

Herrera told reporters that the hospital is indeed functioning. But an official in Curepto municipality, who asked not to be identified because she was not authorized to speak to the news media, said “attention is limited” at the facility.

The hospital returned the borrowed beds and expects to receive others.

[Via - CBC]

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