The conversation with Hayrapet Alexani Barseghyan, Professor, M.D., the deputy director of General Surgery in “Astghik” MC (the successor of “Malatia” Hospital), is about kindness and humanity, medicine as a profession, science and art observations, doctor-patient relationships and the activities of the Department of Surgery of “Astghik” MC.
– I was born in Yerevan in 1953. In 1970, after finishing the secondary school N 83 in Yerevan, I became a student of the faculty of General Medicine, at Yerevan State Medical University after M. Heratsi. In 1976-77 I’ve studied through an internship. In 1977 I’ve started to work in the regional hospital of Hrazdan as a physician-surgeon. I was working with a double sense of responsibility: first, as a young specialist I tended to self-assertion, and the second, Hrazdan was my father’s birth place and gaining a good name was simply a matter of honor for me.
In 1981-1986 I was a senior assistant in the department of PDS (pediatric dentistry, sanitation) faculties of the medical institute. From 1986 I work at “Malatia” hospital, and from 2001 I head the N2 department of the YSMU, the Department of General Surgery in “Astghik” MC. I am the deputy director of the center for surgery.
In 1987 I defended the Ph.D. candidacy thesis; in 2000 I have received the degree of Doctor of Medical Sciences, in 2003 – the academic title of Professor.
–Dear Professor, which are the main directions of activities of the department headed by you?
-In the Department of General Surgery, in modern and fully equipped operating rooms all modern surgeries are performed with open and laparoscopic methods: surgeries of stomach, duodenum, pancreas, esophagus, neck, liver (removal of cysts, liver resection, etc.), gallbladder and biliary tract (gallstones and biliary stones, narrowing of bile duct, etc.), the anterior abdominal wall, postoperative and giant hernias –aloplastics (with a synthetic high quality fibre), autoplastics (with the patient’s own tissues and skin stems). The highly qualified specialists working in the department perform removals of benign and malignant tumors, surgeries of colon and thin intestines, hemorrhoids and fistulas. Also surgeries with modern approaches of endocrine surgery are performed.
–Why did you choose medicine as a profession? Have you been directed to it?
-My mother, Arshaluys Hambardzumyan, was a pediatrician. She headed the Pediatric Department of N17 Polyclinic for many years. From the early age I have witnessed numerous cases: when our relatives and neighbors brought their sick children at different times of the day, they were asking to find a way for a treatment. I got very excited when I saw the careful attitude of my mother towards the children. The willingness of my mother to understand, feel and treat the human pain led me to this choice of my profession.
–Who are your parents? Where are your roots?
– My father, Alexan Barseghyan, was an engineer electrician. He had a reputation of a kind and modest person, a highly-respected professional in the Republic. He was the son of a large and firm family, had 7 brothers and 3 sisters. My father’s ancestors moved from Mush province of Western Armenia to Makravan village which is located inthe region of HrazdaninEastern Armenia (now it is a district of Hrazdan town).
My maternal roots are from Gavar. My mother Arshaluys grew in a large and peaceful, traditional Armenian family. My mother, her three brothers and sister were a sample of strong and peaceful family for all relatives and friends. The same spiritual valueshave been highlighted in our family. My parents brought up their three children – me, my brother who is a doctor, and my sister Melania who is an engineer-cybernetic, with principles deriving from kindness and humanity.
–Doctor and engineer: does this “line” of two professions continue in your family?
-Yes, it is preserved and it also continues in our family. My wife Naira Nalbandyan is a doctor, she works at the Scientific Research Institute of Cardiology, though I should note that being a wife of a surgeon is also a profession (he smiles). Naira successfully combines these two professions and harmonizes our family routine. We have not directed our children to choose any profession. My daughter Tatevik has chosen her parents’ way. She is a dentist and works at the department of pediatric dentistry of YSMU as an assistant. My son Tigran is a student at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, the faculty of Industrial Economics.
–Is medicine a profession or a title, science or art?
-It is both profession, science and art. It is also a title granted by Heaven, a deep devotion which requires a spiritual potential, sleepless nights, self-sacrifice. A doctor reaches the desired outcomes only due to his dedication and performs his mission of releasing people from pain, treating them and bringing them back to life.
–The doctor’s path, experience, make him a psychologist to some extent. What do you think, how the doctor-patient relationships impact on the process of patient’s recovery and treatment?
-Of course, the favorable process of the treatment is conditioned with the correct construction of doctor-patient relationships which assumes mutual respect and trust. The faith towards the professional abilities of the doctor, personal sympathy may encourage the patient, inspire him for hope. Even from the very first conversation, consultation he can feel relief. Each patient has his inner world, mentality. For a successful treatment the patient needs an individual approach.
–You have been the witness of numerous cases of struggle between life and death. When do you think life wins?
-The human body is created to live. In my practice I have witnessed unexplainable cases, also miracles when the patient has come out of hopeless severe disease, desperate situation, he has fought against the disease and recovered. I think the aim to keep any form of life is the victory for life.
–What is your greatest achievement?
-My greatest achievement is people’s love and respect, and the greatest reward is the patient’s health.
–During the day you see and feel others’ pain, have very intense work schedule. How do you arrange your vacations, restore your energy?
-A little correction! A doctor does not see only human pains, he also sees saved lives, thankful eyes, hears warm words which empower him, bring him joy and delight. And I get relaxed when I am at home with my children, grandchildren, relatives and friends.
–Do you easily believe in people?
-Years ago when I was a third year student I performed my first operation at Stepanavan’s hospital. My teachers trusted me and I did not fail. The operation passed successfully. We should believe and trust a person; in that case he will succeed.
–If you had the possibility to change the world, what would you start with?
-I wouldn’t change. Life cannot be beautiful and interesting if there aren’t the good and bad, the evil and kind, the sun and the rain. Laws of Nature are impossible to change. And there is no need.
-Your wishes to the readers of our periodical.
-Enrich your inner world with positive emotions, practice sports, and keep away from bad habits! Be healthy and happy!