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European heritage stories

Nikolai Pirogov

Nikolai Pirogov

25. Xi 1810 — 5. XII 1881

Promoter of military medicine

Country of origin: Russia

Associated place in Tartu: corner of Kalevi and Soola streets

Lived in Tartu: 1828–1832, 1836–1841

My residence and presence in Tartu did not last long and didn’t cost me much. 200 roubles per year for a four-room apartment and 10-12 roubles for board per month. I could have paid more for food, and I did do that, but then only the quantity increased and not the quality.

Nikolai Pirogov

Nikolai Pirogov Country of origin: Russia Photo: National Archives, EFA.275.0.47017

Photo: National Archives, EFA.275.0.47017

Nikolai Pirogov’s house on Kalevi Street (known as Pirogov Street for a time)

The young Nikolai Pirogov came to Tartu from Moscow University to serve at the socalled professors’ institute founded at the university. He was asked to stay and accept a position as professor of surgery. Pirogov was the first to use ether anaesthesia on the battlefield in 1847 and developed a mask for anaesthesia. For treating bone fractures, he adopted use of a starch dressing and then a plaster one. Pirogov developed principles of triage of the wounded and
introduced nurses to the battlefield. In 1862, a surgery performed by Italian national hero Giuseppe Garibaldi’s leg was successful, saving it from amputation.