Medical Mystery: Disabled Patient Claims Malpractice, Doctors Say They Never Touched Him
Albert Karapetyan has been bedridden for the past five years and blames Albert Mkhitaryan, a manual therapist at Medical Unit #2 Ltd., for his plight.
Karapetyan claims that Mkhitaryan, without reviewing his chart, placed him on a cot and proceeded to apply his full weight to his waist. Karapetyan says the procedure caused great pain and he had difficulty getting home afterwards.
The pain continued and Karapetyan called Mkhitaryan who told him this was part of the natural healing process. A month later, Karapetyan was forced to go to the Mikayelyan Surgery Institute for the pain. He was operated on, supposedly successfully, but he still couldn’t walk. Karapetyan is now registered with a class two disability.
Manual therapist Albert Mkhitaryan
Karapetyan filed a medical negligence report with the investigative unit of the Yerevan Police. An investigation was launched but Karapetyan’s petition to launch criminal charges was rejected. The medical examiners failed to reveal anything and claimed that there were no medical records regarding the treatment that Karapetyan received while hospitalized.
Karapetyan told Hetq that all his records had been removed and claims that Gayaneh Barkhoudaryan (a colleague of therapist Mkhitaryan’s who manages the business office) demanded 170,000 AMD for the treatment he received, 36,000 AMD for the massages, and 15,000 AMD for bear liniment. Karapetyan says he paid Barkhoudaryan these amounts but never received a receipt, claiming she recorded the payment in a journal that now can’t be found.
Gayaneh Barkhoudaryan denies taking any money from Karapetyan. She and Mkhitaryan refused to be interviewed by Hetq. (When Hetq was in Barkhoudaryan’s office she would send patients to receive a sonogram, on the first floor, without any papers. She’d just make a call and tell the unit that a patient was coming.)
In the preliminary investigation Dr. Mkhitaryan, Gayaneh Barkhoudaryan and masseuse Svetlana Haroutyunyan denied ever laying a finger on Karapetyan. In fact, they claim that Karapetyan was never treated by them. They claim they merely consulted with him.
Despite their claims, in a reply to Karapetyan, Armenia’s Ministry of Health writes that he refused a second round of treatment, implying that he was indeed treated initially.
Karapetyan says that he demanded money from Dr. Mkhitaryan and Gayaneh Barkhoudaryan to cover his medical expenses at the Mikayelyan Surgery Institute. Karapetyan claims that Barkhoudaryan came to the hospital and handed over 912,000 AMD on condition that he not file any complaints against her. Karapetyan says that after taking the cash he signed an affidavit promising not to seek any type of moral and financial compensation from Medical Unit #2 Ltd or its employees. Karapetyan said he was forced to sign the document since he needed the money for the operation.
Barkhoudaryan categorically denies giving Karapetyan 912,000 AMD and testified as such to the case investigator. She claims that Karapetyan demanded 900,000 AMD from her in compensation and that she refused to pay since she hadn’t done anything wrong.
Despite their claims of innocence, Mkhitaryan and Barkhoudaryan tried to get third parties to intervene and convince Karapetyan to keep silent. Barkhoudaryan says that in order to resolve the matter they approached Rita Gyulambaryan (director of the Yerevan Legal Economic and Management College) where Karapetyan used to work. A document was drafted in Gyulambaryan’s office stating that Karapetyan had no claims against them. Barkhoudaryan says that Karapetyan signed the document and that no money passed hands.
Karapetyan says he signed the document only after receiving the money from Barkhoudaryan. The document was also signed by Gyulambaryan as a witness.
Gyulambaryan told Hetq that she can’t remember much of the incident since it transpired five years ago.
Manual therapist Albert Mkhitaryan lacks a medical degree. He’s a graduate of National Physical Education Institute of Armenia.
Hetq contacted the Ministry of Health to see if Mkhitaryan had any professional medical certificate or qualification. The ministry replied that it kept no personal data about medical practitioners and that a physician’s qualification was personal data that could not be divulged.
In 2011, Karapetyan filed a complaint with the Ministry of Health arguing that therapist Mkhitaryan had no medical education but was practicing medicine.
The ministry responded that Mkhitaryan was a graduate of the Physical Education Institute, had received a qualification in message therapy, and was working as a manual therapist under the supervision of professionals.
Karapetyan is still seeking financial compensation from Mkhitaryan.