On the night of February 23, a young woman died in the Armenian mountain village of Koutakan while waiting for an ambulance that never came.
22 year-old Armineh Yeritsyan was severely mentally retarded and her mother Rouzanna says her daughter also suffered from a stomach ulcer.
On the night in question, Armineh felt increasingly queasy and was vomiting. That’s when Rouzanna called for an ambulance.
Mirab Yeritsyan, Armineh’s father, says that while winter snows frequently close the road to the village, the roads were open when his daughter died.
There is no doctor in Koutakan, just a nurse. Rouzanna called the nurse for advice. By the time the nurse arrived at the house Armineh had passed away.
Koutakan village residents say that this isn’t the first time that an ambulance has failed to show when called. At those times, residents must transfer the sick person to hospital by any means available.
Hasmik Ghazaryan is the director of the Metz Masrik Out-Patient Clinic that issued Armineh’s death certificate. The doctor says that Armineh wasn’t a patient at the clinic and that they had no knowledge of the alleged ulcer.
“There is no such ulcer disorder that can kill a person in just two hours. How could such a young girl have an ulcer anyway? I can’t say what she did or ate to get into such a state,” Ghazaryan told Hetq.
The clinic director issued the death certificate based on an affidavit signed by the village mayor and 12 residents. The certificate reads that the deceased had experienced severe groin pains and couldn’t be treated due to a winter storm.
Armineh was buried a day later without any autopsy.
‘When they asked for a death certificate, I delayed giving it for a long time. She was a young girl and they had no right to bury her without an autopsy. They arrived with the mayor and the affidavit so I issued the certificate. Now, I ask the parents why they buried the girl so fast without knowing what she died of?” asks Ghazaryan.
Village nurse Bavakan Mkrtchyan confirms that they telephoned twice for an ambulance and were told that one would arrive in an hour.
Mkrtchyan then decided to take the sick girl to the hospital herself. But when she arrived at the Yeritsyan house, it was too late.
We rang the 103 emergency hotline to get the number of the ambulance service that covers the Vardenis area. We also wanted to ask them about the night in question.
We were given 0269-23244 as the number to call.
We kept calling all day but no one answered.