Providing Compassionate Medical Care to Borderline Communities by Sevak Hakobyan
“My daughter’s birth was nothing less than a miracle, so we decided to name her after the Blessed Virgin,” says three-year-old Mariam’s mother, Jenya Arakelyan.
Two months into her pregnancy, Jenya was diagnosed with liver fluke disease. Doctors in Yerevan told her they could treat her condition with surgery. But there was a proviso: in order to perform the operation, they would need to end her pregnancy.
“I went to see a gynecologist, but he refused to abort my child,” Jenya recalls. “He said ending a first pregnancy is dangerous and I might never be able to get pregnant again. He suggested to wait and do everything possible to save my baby’s life.”
The young mother adds that there were other difficulties in store for her. Sometime later, while still pregnant, she was diagnosed with an ovarian cyst. Once again, she went through the dilemma of a surgeon insisting on ending her pregnancy while her gynecologist strongly advising against it. Jenya stuck it out, and Mariam was born without a hitch. Today she’s a healthy little girl whose high energy and sometimes naughtiness fill the house with sheer joy.
About a month ago, while she was playing with her mom, Mariam accidentally kicked her in the eye. The resulting injury at once affected Jenya’s vision.
After she consulted a local doctor, her mother-in-law, Mrs. Sirush Ghazaryan, suggested that she wait to be treated by doctors from the United States, who were expected in Noyemberyan, soon to provide free medical services.
“I work as a cleaner at Noyemberyan Hospital,” Mrs. Sirush says. “Last year, the Armenia Fund had invited doctors from America to provide care at the hospital. I knew that they were coming back this year. And our hospital was completely renovated by the Fund some years ago — for which we’re deeply grateful. I very much wished that my daughter-in-law would have a chance to be treated by those doctors.” Mrs. Sirush adds that she has heard numerous local patients praise the extremely high quality of the services rendered by the visiting physicians from Glendale Adventist Medical Center.
During October 16–21, doctors and other healthcare professionals from Glendale Adventist Medical Center (GAMC) provided free medical services, including surgeries, at Noyemberyan Hospital, as part of a large-scale mission initiated jointly by GAMC and Armenia Fund.
Following a free examination, GAMC ophthalmologist Dr. Mireille Hamparian told Jenya that the base of her eye was damaged, necessitating an operation.
“They recommended that I undergo surgery in Yerevan, since currently Noyemberyan Hospital does not have the technical capacity to perform the kind of operation that I need,” Jenya says and continues, “I’m so very grateful to the specialists from America for their attentive and compassionate service.”
Barely had Jenya finished these words that she received a phone call from her husband, a soldier who serves on the border. He hadn’t been able to take time off to accompany herto the hospital, but as he had just heard from a family member about his wife’s diagnosis, he assured her that he would take her to Yerevan as soon as possible, to have the surgery which the GAMC ophthalmologist had recommended.