The Age of Hospital Reform

Nicolai Ivanivich Pirogoff  (1810-1881)



His opposite on the Russian side during the Crimean war was Nicolai Ivanivich Pirogoff, quoted by some as one of the greatest figures in Russian Medical history.

In September 1854, when thousands of the wounded died in Sevastopol Pirogov forwarded a petition to send him to the theatre of the war. With a group of other medical doctors, Pirogov arrived to Sevastopol in winter 1854.

His work in Sevastopol saved many lives.  During the siege of Sevastopol he introduced the mass use of anaesthetic in surgical operations on the front line.

 Pirogov organized medical aid and developed the basic principles of field surgery. The first to use plaster casts, he conceived the technique in 1851 while observing the work of a sculptor it became standard practise not only for the Russian Army, but all others. (This date is disputed as that would make him the official discoverer over Antonius Mathijssen who claimed that honour one year later)

His experience in field surgery published in German in 1864 became a standard reference that would be used for many years thereafter. 195

He was to coin the phrase "War is traumatic epidemic".

His roles were similar in the way with Duchess Helena Pavlovna he introduced nurses to the war zone to look after the wounded.




The first wealth is health.

Nikolai Ivanovich Pirogov





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The History of Surgery and Anaesthesia was created as a free resource to educate Students or indeed anyone wishing to understand the beginings of surgery and Anaesthesia.

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