Medical Choices for An Ankle Injury

x-ray of my ankle

What do you think of first, when you stumble on a piece of ice and sprain your ankle?

After I got over the initial feeling of pain all I thought of was disgust, because it was clear, that I will have to go see a doctor.

I had 3 main options in Erebuni district where I live: Erebuni Medical Center, Aresh polyclinic and Muratsan hospital.

Erebuni medical center is considered to be the best medical institution in Armenia, which is probably true. It was also the closest one. But from a previous visit I hated it and had 2 reasons not to go there this time.

  1. It is a total rip-off place. They charge huge amounts of money by Armenian standards from the second you set foot (or broken ankle) in it. The doctors there might be the best in Armenia, but they’re more concerned about making money, than curing anyone.
  2. There are long cues next to every good doctor’s door in Erebuni medical center, as the whole republic comes here for treatment. No, I couldn’t possibly wait those lines.

So I decided to try my luck with Aresh polyclinic. The place was cold, dark and dirty. It looked like a piece of Soviet Union had been left behind. With the help of my wife I forced myself to drag the hurting ankle over the stairs (no access for disabled people) and more stairs to reach the reception and find out, that their surgeon is late so there’s noone to see me.

“What? No competent doctor to look at my husband’s broken leg in this whole polyclinic?” my wife asked.

“You can try the children’s surgeon”

“OK”

The children’s surgeon looked quite indifferent. “Is he from our area?” he inquired not even looking at me and talking to my wife.

“No”

“So?” he made us feel that we have nothing to talk to him about.

“His leg has swollen. It is hurting. It might be broken. We’re ready to pay,” my wife insisted.

“OK. Go to the lab and get it x-rayed,” he sqeezed through his teeth and dived back into his cabinet from the cold corridor where we were standing.

The search for the x-ray lab lasted a while. Luckily one of the two elevators was still operating. We went up to the 4th floor, went into the empty lab with the same cold corridors and closed doors, sometimes bearing signs, sometimes, no. There was noone in about 3 cabinets we opened, but everywhere the sound of the electric heaters tured up at full strength greeted us. There was nobody in the x-ray cabinet as well.

“That’s it. My patience has run out,” I said to the electric heater and the empty room with some cracked chairs and old looking equipment which was probably the x-ray machine.

***

All this running up and down stairs and peering through empty cabinets made my pains worse. My wife got totally frustrated seeing my miserable face and picked up a fight at the reception, telling the 4-5 coffee-drinking-nothing-doers that “this place doesn’t deserved to be a hospital.” So I drove, with more difficulty than before, to Muratsan hospital.

***

X-ray machineMuratsan hospital turned out to be “The Hospital of Yerevan State Medial University after M. Heratsi․” It was warm and bright inside. The place was decorated and totally ready for Christmas.

Before I understood what’s happening, the doctor pushed me on a super cool x-ray device. The LCD display in front of me was showing the bones. Robotic noise followed the movements of the camera.

The diagnosis cost me 8,000 AMD (about $ 20 U.S.) which is not expensive even in Armenian standards.

Adding to this the whole Christmas mood and nice personnel, you could call me happy, despite the fact, that I’ll have to spend next 5-6 days mostly in horizontal position and walk with a cane for a while.

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8 thoughts on “Medical Choices for An Ankle Injury

  1. I hate those soviet style policlinics and people calling themselves doctors.

    As the case with my kids broken hand has shown, even luxury hospitals (Nairi hospital on Proshyan str.) may employ mediocre and non-professional doctors. In our case we had to find another doctor from another hospital after my kid’s hand was x-rayed and wrapped in gypsum for few days. Can you imagine? We broke initial gypsum, and put another one, in a right way.

    For all those who suffered or is about to suffer the same situation, I encourage to call Ministry of Health hotline, 52 88 72 or hotline@moh.am

    And of course, as Observer did, spread a word about it as much as possible.

    Quick recovery!:)

    • Pat, tell you what – Armenia’s mostly free medical system is certainly better than the one in U.S. with its disfunctional Medicare.

      I happened to volunteer in a soup kitchen for the poor in Washington D.C. years ago and talked to some of the homeless who came there. 2 out of 3 I talked to said they lost everything because they or a family member had to undergo expensive treatment.

      • The worst medical system I have seen has been in the US. It’s a dysfunctional system that leaves a certain % of the population behind – the people who are neither well off (covered by private insurance) nor very poor (covered by state provided Medicaid). The elderly get Medicare, and the veterans get VA.

        That’s why there is a movement to reform the system but it is now in the Supreme Court to see if some of the provisions in the reform law are unconstitutional. There is a clause in the law that requires everyone to purchase health insurance and some states say it gives the federal lawmakers power that is not provisioned by the Constitution. it’s also going to be an important subject during the presidential elections in 2012.

        The bottom line is, do not EVER model a health delivery system based on the US health care industry.

  2. Առողջացի, Հաուս ջան։ Կես բերան ասեիր ես քեզ մի անգամից խորուրդ կտայի ուր գնայիր :D

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