A scientist of genius
A SCIENTIST OF GENIUS
Mykola Pirogov was called a scientist of genius even in his lifetime. His career as a researcher, excellent surgeon and clinician was tempestuous. At 18, he graduated from Moscow University; at 22, he became a Doctor of Science; at 26, he was a Professor at Derpt (now Tartu) University, one of the largest in Europe, and at 30, he headed Russia's first field surgery clinic. During his first 30 or so years in surgery, he started a new trend in the study of human anatomy and physiology, based on fundamentally novel methods. His major research works in this field contributed enormously to world science. To this day, Pirogov's methods are among the basic methods in the study and leaching anatomy.
Pirogov's life was dedicated to people. He was a field surgeon during four wars (in the Caucasus in 1847, in the Crimea in 1854, in the Franco-Prussian war to 1870, and in the Russian-Turkish war in 1877), selflessly saving the lives of the wounded in the most difficult of conditions'.
He in fact created a new medical science, field surgery, and suggested new, rational principles for the grouping, distribution and evacuation pf the wounded. His, work, "Fundamentals of Field Surgery" (1864), had soon become a reference book for field surgeons in all countries.
He formulated some of tile most important principles of treating gunshot wounds, fractures, shock and wound infections, and developed the most ingenious methods of performing operations.
He was also the First to apply, on a large scale, plaster of Paris bandages in field conditions (in Sevastopol, during the Crimean war), which was a revolution in field surgery. Almost 90 years later, during the Great Patriotic War, the Pirogov platter of Paris was still widely used-during the heroic defence of Sevastopol, and on all other fronts, helping save the lives, of many thousands of soldiers.
Pirogov had a phenomenal capacity for work, which enabled him to do a great deal in all spheres of surgery. He also developed classical, world-acknowledged methods of operations and treatment in ophthalmology, urology, and oilier fields. Many of those methods are applied even now, and one of them, the so-called Pirogov amputation (a conservative-restorative operation on the extremities), marked the beginning of esteoplasty, giving a powerful impetus to the development of reconstructive surgery.
Genuinely compassionate with the sick and the wounded, Pirogov did all his efforts to find ways of relieving their suffering lie was among the first to realize the importance of general anesthesia and to apply narcosis, doing all he could towards its introduction into surgery. He firmly believed that narcosis not only relieved pain, but created the optimum conditions for keeping up the patient's vital functions during an operation.