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Hospitalito Atitlán (AMIGOS Hospitalito Atitlán)

Cause Area

  • Health & Medicine
  • International


32 32 Hopkins Point Road, POB 256Jonesport, ME 04649 United States

Organization Information

Mission Statement

Hospitalito Atitln (HA), a small private nonprofit hospital, provides access to preventive and clinical healthcare -- with an emphasis on the medical needs of women and children -- to 75,000 Maya living on the southern shore of beautiful Lake Atitln in the Guatemalan highlands. HA has the only 24/7 emergency and surgical obstetrical care within a two-hour radius.

Our dedicated staff is made up of local physicians, nurses and administrators who work hand-in-hand with international volunteer medical professionals to bring quality care to the community. HA promotes ongoing medical education for Guatemalan and international health professionals, which helps to improve the region’s quality of life.


The new Hospitalito Atitln is 25,000 square feet and serves about 1,000 patients a month. It is capable of serving 1,500. The new facility became a reality with the opening of its first floor on November 19, 2010 and second floor on December 17, 2011.

Located on the road between San Lucas Tolimn and Santiago Atitln, the hospital includes:

  • Four emergency bays
  • Four labor and delivery beds
  • Five patient consultation rooms
  • A surgical suite with two operating rooms
  • Pre- and post-op rooms
  • Two physician on-call rooms
  • 16 inpatient beds
  • Handicapped access provided by a small chairlift on the stairs
  • Pharmacy
  • Laboratory
  • Radiology department
  • Medical Library
  • Central sterile supply and central supply departments central sterile supply
  • Laundry
  • Kitchen
  • Administrative/development offices

The facility is graced with natural spaces, including a maternity garden with private walkway and green space on top of the building.

Hospitalito Atitln is energy efficient. Solar water heaters are currently operating, and solar panels are in transit and will be installed in 2012. In addition, the facility has an oxygen generator, water purification system and battery and generator backup for the electrical system.

We have more than 30 employees including physicians, nurses, allied health professionals and administrative staff. Volunteer medical personnel from around the word compliment existing staff, providing added clinical and research expertise.

Our patients

Many of the people we serve struggle daily to put food on the table, which is why they often ignore medical problems until they become life threatening. Infant and maternal mortality in Santiago Atitln is among the highest in the Americas. Sixty-seven (67) percent of Maya children suffer from malnutrition.

In the past, members of the community had to travel to the national hospital in Solol, an arduous two hour trip -- assuming that roads were passable and free from mudslides and debris. Even so, few or none of the staff there speak Tzutujil. The long journey could be the difference between life and death for a woman in complicated labor or a very sick child. For too long, many local residents chose to remain and die at home rather than make the difficult journey.

Hospitalito Atitln has provided the community with access to quality healthcare from professionals who speak their language. Committed to making services affordable to everyone, our social workers evaluate patient and family resources and, if needed, provide free medical care for those with limited resources.

The health problems in the Atitln area reflect those found in other poverty-stricken areas. Children suffer from significant respiratory and diarrheal illnesses as well as the chronic effects of malnutrition. Obstetrical issues are often complex with high levels of pre-eclampsia. Social issues impact the health of both mothers and their babies. Adults suffer from diabetes, hypertension and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), caused by open cook fires at home.

Since more than 60 percent of our patients speak only the local Mayan dialect, Hospitalito staff work with patients and medical volunteers, translating between Tz'utujil and Spanish.

Our Services


The fee for each clinic visit is Q15 (US $1.90)


Hospitalito Atitln has outpatient clinic weekdays from 8:30 am - 12:30 pm and 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm (or whenever the last patient is seen). It is very difficult to get patients to come in unless they are sick, so screening and identification of high-risk individuals is done during every visit.

Medical staff sees patients in three examining rooms, providing acute/urgent care and preventive and treatment services for a wide range of ailments:

  • Chronic illnesses
  • Pap smears
  • Cellulitis and abscesses
  • Gastritis/GERD (often H. pylori positive)
  • Hypertension
  • Intestinal parasites (ascaris, giardia, and entomoeba histolytica are endemic)
  • Non-tropical, altitude-related infectious diseases
  • Pneumonia
  • Acute diarrhea with/without dehydration
  • Asthma
  • Bronchiolitis
  • Colds
  • Dermatological conditions
  • Intestinal Parasites (Ascaris, giardia, and entomoeba histolytica are endemic)
  • Lumps and bumps
  • Malnutrition (Caused by replacing healthy foods with soda and junk food)
  • Otitis Media

Our prenatal clinics are held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Staff provides pap smears and disease screening to pre-natal care patients, as it may be the only time we have the opportunity to do so.

Common problems treated include:
  • Grand multips
  • Need for slow prim-ip induction
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Pre-existing/Gestational Diabetes

The acupuncture clinic is held Monday and Thursday morning. Acupuncture is coordinated with the patient’s treatment and notes about the session are added to the person’s medical chart. The service is popular with our patients, and acupuncture referrals are welcome.

Emergency Room/Inpatient Services

The fee for emergency room visits is Q50 (US $6.25)

The Hospitalito provides a full-range of emergency and inpatient services including:

  • Defibrillation
  • EKG
  • Intubation (We do not have a ventilator for transfer)
  • Lumbar Puncture
  • Nebulization
  • Paracentesis/Thoracentisis/Chest Tubes
  • Suturing
We also provide obstetric services (depending on the staff on-hand):
  • Cesarean section
  • Cystocele repair, bladder suspension
  • Dilation and curettage
  • Fetal Monitoring
  • Fibroidectomy
  • Hysterectomy
  • Induction with Misoprostol or Pitocin
  • Magnesium infusion
  • Tubal ligation
  • Ultrasound
  • Umbilical artery/vein catheterization
  • Vaginal deliveries, with suction and forceps if required


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