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Adventures of an American in Armenian Hospitals

21:06, October 13

My name is Luisne, I’m 36 years old. I was born in Yerevan, but moved to US with my family in the 1999. I decided to move back to my motherland last December, as I got a job offer in Yerevan from one of the leading companies here. We returned with my husband, settled down, everything seemed to go smoothly.

We’ve been trying to get pregnant for some time now, but it wasn’t happening for us so my husband and I decided to go through some medical examinations. I didn’t know where to start, so friend of mine sent me to her doctor at the Surb Astvatsamayr Hospital. Here’s where my acquaintance with the mess in the Armenian hospitals started. I was tested for some infections, but the doctor didn’t find any problems so she sent me to the Norq Massiv Tsnndatun to have an artificial insemination done. This is where I met Khatun Ktrichevna, my new doctor.

Khatun sent me to have some more tests done (hormones mainly), and asked me to come in regularly for a folliculometry. This is when she discovered an oval-shaped body inside my uterus.

What I’d like to note in the first place is the negligent attitude of the doctors towards patients. We left the consulting room with the doctor and walked towards another room where a huge line of pregnant women was standing. Poor women didn’t have one chair to sit on. And this is the case in most of the hospitals. My doctor completely ignored the line and had me follow her into the room where another ultrasound was awaiting me. I could hear the angry remarks of the pregnant women standing around for breaking the line, but my doctor was nodding at me, giving me approval to walk through and enter the room. There were three other nurses or doctors (I couldn’t quite figure out) in the room, plus another patient, who hadn’t finished dressing up. The doctors were nonchalantly chatting and chewing on something when my doctor started discussing out-loud what she’s seeing on the screen while examining me. “Hey girls, what is this? Looks like a polyp, right?” “Yeah, definitely a polyp,” – confirmed the other woman with her mouth full of whatever she was chewing and trying to swallow.  “Get dressed” – I got the command.

I was feeling like an Object that no one cares about. By the time I sat-up to get dressed, the next patient was called in. I was perplexed, of course. You’ll never see such thing in US. I simply could not understand why no one treats me like a human being, like a woman. THEY are women, who don’t understand how vulnerable I am right now.

We went back to the consulting room, where the doctor finally explained what this polyp was, and that it should be removed as it may hinder the pregnancy. Next, she recommended that I check my fallopian tubes, and if everything comes back ok, move on to the artificial insemination.

The negligence I came across at this hospital made me go to another doctor at a different hospital. Believe me, I’m no sissy, but everything has its limits. People in Armenia are being treated as animals and take it for a norm.  

My next trip was to the Margaryan Hospital, where doctor Emma Sergeevna Totoyan saw me. More tests, additional examinations, plus they sent my husband to get checked for some infections as well. Results – my husband has dysbacteriosis. I called the nurse, as the doctor was away on vacation, and asked what this dysbacteriosis meant, and… surprise, surprise, the nurse named Tatev could not really explain!

- “Well, it’s dysbacterosis, you know. Come talk to one of our doctors, they’ll explain” – briefly concluded this being who has graduated from a medical school. “It’s like intestinal dysbacteriosis, but in this case it’s vaginal.”

What??? My husband has a vagina now? Steam was coming out of my ears!

Tatev told my husband that he needed to see a doctor, pay him 10-15K AMD for the consultation and get the necessary meds for the infection. Oh, and by the time my husband got to the hospital, his vaginal dysbacteriosis turned into gardnerella. My husband simply did not believe the test results and asked to be retested in a couple of days and, what a miracle, the test results came back negative.

Baffled and feeling like complete idiots or actors of Absurdity Theater we didn’t know what to do, but hey, it was now my turn – and yikes – chlamydia!

I could not understand these test results as only a year ago I was examined in US and no chlamydia was discovered then. The doctor who was replacing Dr. Totoyan, Frolova Nona Gennadievna, who, by the way, I have no issues with, simply smiled at my question, probably implying “ah, baby, these men… you know how they are.” I’ve been with my husband for three years and I trust him completely. I was told we would take some antibiotics and chlamydia would vanish. But NO, I decided to get retested right there and then (PCR). More money, more tests. I was sent to another lab, called Promtest. Results came back same day – NEGATIVE. Dr. Frolova was not surprised at all, and told me very calmly that these things happen.

Next step was checking the fallopian tubes. Results – the right tube has adhesions, the polyp located close to the left tube does not allow the liquid to go through at all, so unknown.

In the beginning of September we went to Dr. Totoyan upon our return from vacation. She looked through all our results done through the last couple of months and announced that, basically, at my age every day matters. I could try surgery to open the adhesions of the fallopian tubes, but then I’ll have to wait for a year (why year, I did not quite understand) to try to get pregnant naturally. So my chances are better if I try In Vitro, which costs $4000 to $5000 USD and has 35% success rate globally. I was to consult a surgeon, have the polyp removed and come back in a month for In Vitro.

Ladies and gentlemen, I asked for copies of all our results and left the stage at the Margaryan Hospital. Further research brought me to Dr. Ara Drampyan at the Hanrapetakan Hospital, who is one of the well-known and successful surgeons in Armenia. He listened to me very carefully, looked through my results very thoroughly and suggested that I have a hysteroscopy and laparoscopy done to remove the “whatever oval body” he discovers during the surgery and open any kind of adhesions that I might have in my tubes. After the recovery period of 1 month, I can go home and try to get pregnant naturally, and IF no baby in a year or so, then perhaps think about In Vitro.


We came home, did some Internet research, consulted some other doctor friends and were told that results of this type of surgeries are normally very individual. It all depends on the type of adhesions or scar tissues I might have from my previous myomectomy done a few years ago in Los Angeles, so on and so forth. I decided to follow through with the surgery. I have to say that Dr. Drampyan and his helping nurse, Laura turned out to be my one and only positive experiences in my medical adventures.


The pre-op exams were as expected, the Armenian norm. The exam room had two gynecological chairs next to each other located next to EKG machine. The view from the gynecological chairs is spectacular – you can look at the buildings through the windows that are open right in front of your extended legs. Plus, another pre-op patient can lie next to you and smile at you while you both are being penetrated with the rubber gloves.


Luckily, I was alone with the doctor in the room for the gynecological exam, however, when I was asked to proceed to the next chair for EKG the door opened and couple of nurses and patients walked in while I was getting dressed. This time I couldn’t help it. I asked everyone, including all the doctors and nurses to leave the room and give me some privacy. I got inexplicably abhorrent looks from those nurses who turned away and left the room. The EKG nurse, who stayed in the room to complete the pre-op exam, gave me a surprised smile and said: “You’re not local, are you?”

Next thing I know I’m the most important patient she’s had the entire day. She started asking me who I was, where I was working, how great it was that people like me repatriate to their motherland and that she has a very smart daughter who has recently graduated from some kind of university (I couldn’t quite catch everything with the EKG cables attached to my breasts and all parts of my body) and that her daughter is looking for a job.

“Send me her resume” – is all I could say at that point.

“Oh no, I don’t believe in resumes” – she claimed. “We need someone from the Inside.”

“Our company only believes in resumes” – I said and gave her my work email address. Interestingly enough, when the door opened again and a new face entered the room, my EKG nurse yelled at her asking to leave immediately and close the door behind her. They learn quickly, I thought. But to my disappointment, after I left the room, the next patients and nurses waiting outside all went into the room together, as a team.

The following week I went in for the surgery. The senior nurse of the day (don’t remember her name) asked me to empty my bladder before going into the surgery room and literally pushed me into the tiny restroom where another nurse was emptying a patient’s catheter full of blood. I was pushed in again and commanded to go in. The other nurse flew out of the restroom obeying the senior nurse’s command leaving the half empty bag of blood on the floor and not having the time to flush the toilet. So I went in a bloody toilet.

Surgery was quite successful. The oval body turned out to be a tiny fibroid, instead of a polyp that was going to be scrapped out of my uterus by the Margaryan doctors. The fallopian tubes where quite healthy with no adhesions or scar tissues. I’ve been given medication to take for the next couple of months to dilute the little bit of discharge discovered in the tubes and to make them easily passable.

Right after the surgery, I was brought into the post-op room where the same senior nurse greeted me. One thing I’d like to note is the amount of make-up the nurses wear on their faces. It’s simply nauseating.

The very first thing I told her was that I really had to pee. She looked at me in dismay and asked me why I didn’t go when the catheter was attached. Wait a second. She wants me to tell her why I didn’t go into the catheter DURING the surgery when I was lying there unconsciously. I simply did not reply, as I didn’t find any words or energy to explain anything to this woman. She brought the urinary plate and placed it under me. Lying on my back in a very awkward position, having just come out of surgery, in pain and wanting to get rid of all this fluid I have in my bladder, I wasn’t able to go. She came back 2 minutes later and removed the plate and left me lying there alone. Here’s where a little bit of revenge woke-up in me for all this rudeness and mistreatment I had to go through in the Armenian hospitals. I simply let it go... on the sheets, the mattress, covers… The nurse came back, saw the mess, asked what happened, I said I couldn’t hold it, sorry. “It’s ok, I’ll clean up” – she said. Yes, and you will!

Everything I’ve written I can confirm with the back up documents. I will be leaving Armenia soon, the reasons being lack of medical system in this country, lack of professionalism, and lack of humanity and mutual understanding.

I don’t blame my people for becoming so furious; they’ve simply lost themselves, their personalities, which nowadays come out in a form of the Armenian “munat.”  I got really tired. My homeland has turned into God knows what; and I know that the doctors will continue examining a few patients at the same time in the same room giving them no privacy whatsoever, ordering them to undress then dress in front of each other, and that these women will continue thinking that it’s quite normal, while the same doctors or nurses will be extremely tactful and careful with the “non-locals.” My dear women, when you look at yourselves in the mirror, don’t forget that when you’re lying, first and foremost you’re lying to yourselves.



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