53 year-old Ofik Evoyan finds herself in a bureaucratic nightmare that threatens her very life.
In 2005, Mrs. Evoyan had one of her breasts removed after a cancerous tumour was discovered.
The woman was registered as a 3rd class disabled person and granted a 12,000 AMD ($33) monthly pension. That pension has now been taken away by a medical examining committee in Lori.
Arman Daghbashyan, who heads the committee, argues that the woman is sick but not disabled.
Harutyun Mikayelyan, an oncologist at the Alaverdi Medical Center, strongly disagrees with the decision of the committee.
Ofik Evoyan went for a check-up this May at the Yerevan Oncology Institute and was given an affidavit stating that she suffers from cancer and that typhus has been discovered on her thyroid gland, among other ailments.
Doctors warn that she must undergo an intensive examination regimen.
Ofik Evoyan says that Mr. Daghbashyan doesn't believe the authenticity of the Institute's medical report and that's why he decided to reclassify her 3rd degree disability status.
"He says that I got the report through the help of friends," says Ofik.
A few days later after making his decision, Arman Daghbashyan demanded that the woman have herself admitted to the Yerevan #1 Hospital for tests.
Physician Harutyun Mikayelyan says that the tests have to determine whether the medical conditions listed in the Institute's report have any connection with the tumour or not.
Mikayelyan adds that Mrs. Evoyan got the Institute's notice in May and presented it to the medical investigations committee on June 10 in order that her status be decided.
If the committee had any doubt, it should have sent the woman for additional tests immediately thereafter, when Mrs. Evoyan was still registered as disabled and could avail herself of free medical testing.
Now, being stripped of her status, Mrs. Evoyan has to admit herself like a regular patient and pay several thousands of AMD to get tested. The woman cannot afford to do so.
Dr. Mikayelyan says that the woman may even be issued a certificate saying she is healthy.
"But how can she be considered healthy when one of her breasts has been removed, she has a tumour and can't flex her hands. Mrs. Evoyan was to get a lifetime pension starting next year. Now they are telling her that she can't get a classification group."
Mrs. Evoyan says that her health has deteriorated after the 2005 surgery.
The medical examining committee had given her a 2nd class medical status from 2005 to 2010.
She says that a temporary committee president named Petrosyan downgraded her status to a level 3 without even looking at her case file.
Mrs. Evoyan took the downgrade in stride – at least it would pay for her medication.
None in her family of seven have a steady job. One of her daughters receives a social subsidy of 19,000 AMD.
But she only feels resentment for Arman Daghbashyan.
"He's thrown out more than 92 people like me from his office. Those who pay bribes of 30,000 or 40,000 get the disability pension. I'll reveal their names if I have to."
Ofik Evoyan has no formal education and worked as a cleaning attendant for many years.
"Given her condition, she can't work as a cleaner. If she had some type of profession, Mrs. Evoyan might get an office job and use her good right hand," says Dr. Mikayelyan.
The good doctor says depriving a woman like Mrs. Evoyan of her small medical pension is immoral.
"It's not only the malignant tumour but her other medical afflictions. There's the issue of paying for her meds and getting check-ups."
Hetq tried to get in touch with Dr. Arman Daghbashyan who heads the medical examining committee. We were told that he's away on vacation and will be back on September 12.
We were able to talk to him by telephone on August 28.
"Ofik Evoyan's condition has improved. Yes, she is sick but not disabled. That's why she hasn't been classified as such," Mr. Daghbashyan told us.