Hospital Dr. José Maria Antunes Júnior

An abandoned hospital in

The Hospital Dr. José Maria Antunes Júnior, nestled near Barro, has a rich history. Originally constructed in 1570 as a convent by Infanta D. Maria. The convent was home to the arrábidos monks, who were known for their susceptibility to lung diseases. The Arrábidos used the convent until religious orders were forbidden in 1834, and then it was abandoned. The Marquês de Valada later bought it, and Father Carlos Rademaker acquired it, playing a key role in restoring the Society of Jesus in Portugal.

It later transformed into the Elias Garcia Asylum in 1910. Over time, it served various roles, including that of a sanatorium. In the latter half of the 20th century, it became a beacon of health, with Dr. José Maria Antunes Júnior at the helm. The dedicated nuns provided essential care and assistance to patients.

José Maria Antunes Júnior

Born on June 27, 1913, in Sobral da Ceira, Coimbra, José Maria Antunes Júnior was a remarkable student, doctor, pulmonologist, athlete, and association leader. He opened his first clinic in Lisbon in 1949 and founded the Sanatório de Torres Vedras in 1956, where he worked for 35 years as the clinical and administrative director. After his death in 1991, the Sanatório in Barro was renamed Sanatório Dr. José Maria Antunes Júnior and in 1993, it became known as Hospital Dr. José Maria Antunes Júnior.

Before its closure, the hospital was dedicated to treating lung diseases, in particular Tuberculosis. The property is located in a pleasant location, on the outskirts of the city, but far from any urban area. This isolation, once an advantage in the treatment and cure of respiratory diseases.

In 2015, the former hospital in Torres Vedras changed ownership from the Ministry of Health to the Ministry of Finance after being deactivated. All medical services were subsequently transferred to another hospital in Torres Vedras, which is now integrated into the Centro Hospitalar do Oeste along with hospitals in Caldas da Rainha and Peniche. The primary objective behind this transition was to sell the building.

Health Park

Interestingly, the vacant former hospital building will soon be repurposed as the Torres Vedras Health Park for Multidisciplinary Care. This space will serve as a reference center dedicated to providing assistance care, training health professionals, facilitating teaching, and conducting research in Medicine and other biomedical sciences1. It’s heartening to see how a once-abandoned structure will soon contribute to the health sector in a meaningful way.

I visited the abandoned hospital in 2018.

Built 1570
Abandoned 2015
Reconverted 2023
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