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Soldier Injured During Last Year’s Escalation in Karabakh Denied Disability Status

A medical-social expertise committee has refused to grant a disability status to former conscript soldier, a native of the village of Nerqin Getashen in Armenia’s Gegharkunik province Mnats Sargsyan. The 20-year-old had received a serious fragmentation wound in Karabakh in April 2016, during the four-day escalation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border; he is also from a variety of other serious illnesses.

“My health state is rather bad: there are about 60-70 debris in my body, including the head. I have been examined by a medical committee twice, but I have yet to be granted disability benefits. The last examination also revealed some mental issues. I underwent a treatment at Muratsan [Central Military Hospital in Yerevan] this past September. Later, an examination at the Abovyan hospital found a small tumor on one of  my lungs. They said it had been there before the army service. I did not know about it,” Mnats Sargsyan told Epress.am on Tuesday.  The former conscript added that his health “is deteriorating every day.”

“The fragments in the head cause unbearable pain; the area under my eye is swollen, and it is getting worse every day. Doctors at Muratsan said they wouldn’t want to intervene because removing the fragments was too dangerous. I submitted all necessary papers, but the committee refused to grant me disability status, insisting that my injuries were not permanent,” Sargsyan said.

Speaking to Aysor.am, Vardan Ginoyan, head of the medical-social expertise committee, said Mnats Sargsyan’s injuries had led “solely to slight mobility and eyesight issues and according to the 780N government decree, slight issues do not make one eligible for a disability status.” Ginoyan added that Mnats Sargsyan has been provided with an individual rehabilitation program which envisages a one-year free medical treatment should the patient need it.

Powerful Armenian Army program director Karen Hovhannisyan also commented on Sargsyan’s case on his Facebook page, writing that when reviewing the former soldier’s application, the medical-social expertise committee had refused to attach the lung and head trauma epicrises to the case materials.