Noyemberyan Hospital: A Lifetime of Service by Sevak Hakobyan

Sixty-three-year old Marieta Amiraghyan has dedicated 36 years of her life to the Noyemberyan Hospital. It was in 1980, she recalls, that after graduating from Yerevan’s State Medical University, she returned to her native Noyemberyan and began to work at the city’s hospital.

Marieta had a very good reason for choosing medicine as her calling: when she was a child, she says, she saw her mother fall gravely ill, and decided to become a doctor in order to restore her back to health. Although unfortunately Marieta was still too young when she lost her mother, she did not change her mind about becoming a doctor, driven as she was by a strong desire to be of help to her fellow Noyemberyan residents.

A few years after beginning her medical career as a pediatrician, Marieta was entrusted with the directorship of the Noyemberyan Hospital lab, a position she has held ever since.

“At the time I started working at the lab, conditions were just terrible,” Dr. Amiraghyan remembers. “We lacked even the most basic instruments and equipment, and were limited to performing only a number of rudimentary tests. Eventually certain organizations donated various types of equipment to the lab, but the hospital as a whole was in a state of extreme disrepair.”

In 2010, Armenia Fund implemented a complete renovation of the Noyemberyan Hospital and provided it with state-of-the-art medical machinery.

“It was a truly wonderful thing, for our staff members and the area’s population alike,” Dr. Amiraghyan says as she joyfully remembers the transformation of the facility. “Right after the renovation, when we entered the hospital for the first time, we literally felt like we were in a heavenly space. Everything around us was clean, bright, and wonderful beyond description, and complemented by up-do-date medical instruments and equipment throughout.”

“What the Armenia Fund did for us was akin to a miracle,” the doctor continues, adding that she finds it all the more delightful to work in an environment that not only has been so beautifully refurbished, but also features all the professional amenities and human comforts one could ask for.

Dr. Amiraghyan spends most of her day at the hospital. Her loved ones don’t complain, she says. “By now, they know that the hospital is my home away from home,” she explains and continues, “In the beginning, our staff comprised about 15 people, and we all felt like we were one family. Now our staff includes many more members, and it still feels like one big family!”

Every year since 2015, that family has grown by up to 50 members for a week or so in the fall, as doctors and other medical professionals from Glendale Adventist Medical Center (GAMC) have come to Noyemberyan Hospital to provide thousands of area residents with an array of free medical services — including check-ups, general medical care, and surgeries — as well as free medicines. Also within the framework of this project, which is the result of a far-reaching partnership between Armenia Fund US Western Region and GAMC, large quantities of medicines, new medical equipment, and ambulances have been donated to the hospital.

Dr. Amiraghyan says that a crucially important aspect of the Armenia Fund-GAMC missions to Noyemberyan is the sharing of medical experience.

“Of course we have many accomplished local specialists, but our colleagues from the United States are distinguished by their mastery of the very latest technologies,” she notes. “Throughout our American colleagues’ missions at Noyemberyan Hospital, we follow their each and every procedure and technique with great interest, ask questions, and learn ceaselessly by observing their work, so that we, too, will be able to apply their advanced methods.”

Dr. Amiraghyan also states that she has always been most pleasantly surprised at the high level of dedication with which doctors and other staff from GAMC provide services to the hospital’s patients, who come from throughout the border regions of Tavush and Lori.

Dr. Amiraghyan had the opportunity to closely observe and work with Dr. Michele Cosgrove, pathologist and Chief of Staff of Glendale Adventist Medical Center. Dr. Cosgrove was closely analyzing and reading pap smears and other specimens at the hospital during the past medical mission. The quick turnaround of the results allowed for GAMC physicians to properly counsel patients on their results and provide care accordingly.

Although the situation can get tense at the border with Azerbaijan, Dr. Amiraghyan has never thought of leaving Tavush. That’s because, simply put, she does what she loves, and can’t imagine a greater joy than getting up every morning to go Noyemberyan Hospital, her adored home away from home.

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Photo Credit: Areg Balayan