A 6-month-old Armenian infant died in hospital on Monday one week after the six other members of his family were murdered in their home in Gyumri.
The baby boy, Seryozha Avetisian, survived his 2-year-old sister, parents, aunt and grandparents by only 7 days.
Seryozha had been in critical condition since being found stabbed in the chest on January 12 several hours after the massacre thought to have been carried out by a Russian soldier serving in Armenia’s second largest city. He underwent surgery in a Gyumri hospital before being transported to Yerevan’s Surp Astvatsamayr hospital the next day.
The baby’s condition stabilized and even slightly improved there in the following days as doctors kept fighting to save his life. They were joined by prominent colleagues from Russian over the weekend.
Seryozha’s condition deteriorated on the night from Sunday to Monday. The Armenian Ministry of Health announced his death late in the afternoon. In a statement, it spoke of “irreversible changes” in his organism resulting from sudden heart, lung and kidney failures.
The chief Surp Astvatsamayr medic, Nikolay Dallakian, reported the deterioration in the morning, saying that he and his colleagues are taking urgent measures to stabilize the boy’s condition. One of the experienced doctors from Russia assisting him, William Khachatrian, said just hours before Seryorzha’s death, “The fact that such a little child with such severe wounds has stayed alive is a miracle.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed Seryozha’s fate with his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian in a phone call on Sunday. Putin expressed the Russian government’s readiness to transport him to Moscow for further treatment.
Dallakian categorically ruled out such a possibility on Monday morning, saying that the proposed transfer would be too dangerous for the baby’s health given the gravity of his condition. “Even the child’s transportation from Gyumri to Yerevan was very, very problematic,” he told reporters. “We could have lost him on the way to Yerevan. The baby is not subject to transportation.”
Seryozha Avetisian’s death prompted a special written statement from Sarkisian. “We have failed to save the life of little Seryozha … The light that was our sole consolation after the Gyumri tragedy has been extinguished,” he said.
Sarkisian again expressed condolences to the relatives of the Avetisian. “We must live on and achieve a just retribution for all this pain and this crime,” added the statement.