M.N. Kozovenko, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor at the Department of the History of Medicine, National History and Culturology
S.I. Trikhina, External Doctoral Candidate at the Department of the History of Medicine, National History and Culturology
I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, The Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, Moscow (Russian Federation)
Eleven previously unpublished letters written by N.I. Pirogov to A.L. Obermiller in 1877‒1880 have been discovered. Three of them were published in 2013 for the first time. Presented unabridged for the first time are two letters relating to the start of this correspondence, which contain Pirogov’s treatment recommendations for the illness afflicting the chief of the Danube army, Grand Duke N.N. Romanov (senior), whose court physician was Obermiller. Pirogov participated in the treatment of the Grand Duke from December 1876 to January 1877 in Chisinau, where the headquarters of the commander-in-chief was located. Once the risk of complications in the patient had passed, Pirogov returned to the estate of Vishnya, from where he continued medical consultations for the Grand Duke via correspondence with Obermiller. The reason for written consultation was the commander-in-chief’s relapse in the form of dyspeptic syndrome, requiring an immediate correction in Pirogov’s medical procedures. In five letters containing recommendations to Obermiller written during the space of a month (from January 30 to February 26, 1877), he presents an unexpected side. Pirogov is considered a representative of the 19th century scientific medicine, but with the publication of these letters a conciliatory stance becomes plausible, indicating an enthusiasm also for an empirical focus in medical practice. The nature of his medical recommendations leads to such a conclusion, based on the teachings of the German physician-empiricist J.G. Rademacher. Pirogov’s letters to Obermiller were discovered in 1926 by a prominent Soviet surgeon I.I. Grekov, who was preparing to publish them but did not succeed. Annotated reports about these letters, published in 1956 by the Soviet surgeon A.M. Geselevich, were of a selective character (aphorisms or fragments).
Keywords: N.I. Pirogov, A.L. Obermiller, Grand Duke N.N. Romanov (senior), Chief of the Danube army’s illness