History of Medicine


An Open Access Journal

The work of the American medical detachment as а part of the Russian army on the Caucasian front during World War I

DOI: 10.17720/2409-5834.v5.1.2018.07g

Ivan M. Chizh,
Maria S. Sergeeva,
Igor V. Karpenko,
Ilya V. Fedoseikin
FSAEI HE I.M. Sechenov First MSMU MOH Russia (Sechenov University)
8 Trubetskaya St., building 2, Moscow 119991, Russia

The article covers a little-known episode from World War I, concerning the work of one of the foreign detachments (hospitals) in the Russian Tsarist army. The large-scale sanitary losses and epidemics of infectious diseases, which accompanied the war, required special efforts from the medical service of the Russian army. The Russian Red Cross Society (RRCS), which had monopoly rights to organize medical care during the war, did not cope with the problems that arose. In connection with this, the international community, primarily the medical personnel of neutral and allied states, in particular England and America, played a big role in the provision of medical care to the wounded Russian army. The activities of foreign doctors, nurses and hospitals were carried out under the auspices of the RRCS in the framework of the humanitarian assistance that allies provided to Russia during World War I. Based on archival documents and materials from RRCS periodicals for 1914–1917, the activities of the medical unit of the North American United States in the Caucasian theater of military operations and the American hospital organized by it on the territory of Persia (the town of Khoy) are investigated. The materials under review single out a number of problems in the provision of medical assistance to the troops of the Caucasian Front, requiring special urgency and unprecedented work from the American specialists in Khoy. Throughout the period under review, anti-epidemic, clinical, evacuation and charitable activities predominated the detachment’s work. Doctors and nurses of the detachment risked their lives in performing their duties during typhus epidemics. It is noted that in addition to American doctors and nurses, Russian doctors and nurses worked at the hospital.

Keywords: American hospital, World War I, Caucasian Front, Red Cross, nurses, typhus


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