Soldier and the doctor
Medical officer. Perhaps, it is one of the most precious professions in the world. It is also one of the most necessary professions for the Armenian people. Military physician! Serviceman protects the country from the enemy, with the weapon in the hands. Doctor, daily, protects the health of motherland’s defenders without tiredness.
During centuries the profession of military doctor was one of the most respected for the Armenian people. Today it remains the same. Armenian upland located on the cross-road of world civilizations, religions and commercial ways, since older days it is an object for desired dreams of different aggressors. Who hasn’t been in the Armenian Country since then?! They came to us during millenniums and they disappeared without leaving a trace: Parthians and Scythians, Babylonians and Sumerians, Byzantines and Arabs, Mongolians and innumerable hordes of nomads from Transbaykal… Armenian nation, under these conditions was forced to constantly conduct heavy defensive actions, and, it means, it required both the soldiers and the doctors, who would know how to heal war wounds. The traditions of Armenian medical officers were embedded centuries ago, and even for today’s military physicians there are people from whom to learn and from whom to take an example of the selfless service to the motherland.
Highly professional and devoted to his job military physician gives confidence to the solder, which goes to the battle, he raises solder’s combat spirit. Solder must know that aside of him there is always a doctor that will render it necessary assistance, whisper the encouraging words, stop hemorrhage, use all of his competent aid and deliver him to the hospital. That’s the way how Armenian military physicians behaved during years of Azerbaijan Republic’s aggression against Nagorno – Karabakh Republic; doctors, nurses, medical orderlies: Valeriy Marutyan, Boris Gevorkyan, Aida Seropyan, Vyacheslav Agabalyan, Taron Tonoyan and many, many others. Their courage and selfless patriotism played the enormous and invaluable role in the victory above repeatedly exceeding number of enemy.
One of the legendary heroes was well-known in entire Artsakh, surgeon Valeriy MARUTYAN. Valeriy, the actual founder of Artsakh military field medicine, the chief of the medical service of the defense army of NKR could carry out operations during twenty-four hours. It seemed this person is never tired. Soldiers and their relatives almost prayed for him. They knew that, if doctor Marutyan operates the injured, then everything will be fine, solder will survive and he will come back.
In 1993, during one of the airplane attack on Stepanakert, small bomb splinter got stuck into Kristine’s throat, mischievous 12 years old girl, daughter of my driver Spartac. Without loosing a minute we brought her into the hospital, to our magician -doctor Marutyan. "Valera, I asked him, hurry up, they will bring many injured solders now”. Valera only nodded in motion, by hurrying into the operating room, he knew what to do. During the very complex operation, when the life of child hangs on the hairspring, her mother came running into the hospital: "Levon Grantovich, tell me, will my daughter be able to speak?”
- Wait, be patient, first they should save her life!
- What do you mean to save her life?! Doesn’t Marutyan operate?!
That was the faith in our doctor. It is worthwhile to indicate that Kristine survived and she even talks. She talks with a little hoarseness, true, but that little hoarseness gives her that special charm. Today, hundreds of families, thousand of people with the deep gratitude recall prematurely passed-away after the war doctor, surgeon, who had gift from the God - Valeriy Marutyan. Surgeon, who gave all of his vital forces to his patients.
Vyacheslav AGABALYAN, the first minister of public health of NKR, public health Commission Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Nagorno - Karabakh Republic. Man, whose patriotism and creative approach to the military medicine saved, without any exaggeration, life of thousands soldiers of the Nagorno–Karabakh Autonomous Oblast. Every time when the defense army of NKR freed the sequential populated area from fascism of Azerbaijan warriors, doctor Agabalyan was in advance detachment. He considered that one of his basic tasks is the retention of medical equipment and all kind of drugs in the freed settlement (in the blockade Artsakh there was always deficiency). After establishing "control” over the aid station or the hospital, Vyacheslav organized the transportation of priceless load into Stepanakert. If you would only see, how excited he was to have each packing of medicines, each new preparation. The work of the ministry under his management was exclusively coordinated and effective. It suffices to say, that during all years of war in blockade NKR and its armed subdivisions there was none (!) of infectious disease spread. Moreover, Agabalyan as an excellent surgeon managed to find time for conducting the most complex operations.
Doctor Agabalyan and doctor Marutyan died soon after war. Heart didn’t maintain. The heart that passed through itself the pain and sufferings of thousands injured soldiers, children, women and old men. Thousands of people gathered to their burials. This was a memory tribute to the outstanding people, this was a universal grief.
Valera and Slava were not only intelligent, but also intellectual people. Both of them are the authors of the scientifically- psychological books. It is a pity that Agabalyan’s deep, interesting and vital study that describes postwar syndrome and methods of its overcoming did not see light during his lifetime. V. Marutyan's book "War Leaves Enduring Scars” is a handbook for thousands of Armenians.
We could say a lot about Boris Gevorkyan, Aida Seropyan, Shushanik, Taron Tonoyan and about many others of our medical officers. They all are medical magicians: good magicians with big hearts. However, I hope our doctors and my friends will forgive me that today I wanted to talk about Valeriy and Slava, about my friends, whose strong and good hands saved thousands of Armenian lives.
There was a harmony inside of Vyacheslav Agabalyan and Valeriy Marutyan between high titles of Armenian soldier and Armenian doctor. Most of Karabakh’s kids, are adult young men and women now and they oblige by their birth to our medical officers, who saved lives of their future fathers and mothers. That is why our children are alive reminders of our military physicians’ exploit. In our case it’s better to speak about the immortal exploit. Our children are the alive confirmation of that.
War, dear Valera, leaves enduring scars, you’re absolutely right, but the trace of your assistance and your work is much longer! Happy Holiday our dear medical workers of Armenian army.
P.S. We propose to the attention of readers the fragment from the book of Valeriy Marutyan "War Leaves Enduring Scars”.
"Projectile fell into the entrance of the house, where people concealed. There died relatives of our colleagues. But there is no time for tears, now. All strength must be gathered in the fist in order to save those who are alive. They have suffered. They swallowed tears and kept on saving people. Third floor, therapeutic and neurologic departments were malfunctioned. We opened operating rooms and ambulance in the basement. There is no light. The engine, which works on diesel, again and again went out of order. Patient surveys, dressings, and even operations were done with the candlelight. Gas pipe in Shushi and Lachin went through Stepanakert, therefore, glory to God, we had gas. Our skillful people converted many engines to gas. Even ambulance cars worked gas. In a rush we re-equipped the basements of the former regional party committee and passed there. The heavy fire began as soon as we settled down. Two projectiles went into our building. But basement did not suffer, and we continued to work. Suddenly the driver of Serzh Sargsyan brought in on his hands ten-year’s old boy with the torn out hand and the havoc stomach. It was a total eventration. Blood flows from the breaks of the liver. Food masses were coming from the stomach. Boy was unconscious. He only weakly moaned. We put him on the operating table; poured blood substitutes; determined the group of the blood. Anesthesiologists collect the blood of our colleagues for the pouring. Driver says, that injured boy was found by Serzh Sargsyan and Vazgen Sargsyan (he came to Stepanakert the day before) when they passed through Armenavan. They were inspecting positions of the enemy, when suddenly they’ve heard explosion and the heart-rending cry of a boy. Vazgen and Serzh sent boy by car, and went on without it"