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 Sergey Botkin

Born:   September 5, 1832
Deceased:   December 12, 1889

famous Russian therapist


Sergey Petrovich Botkin, famous Russian therapist, was among founders of Russian general medicine as a field of science. Future star of Russia medicine was born on September 5, 1832, in Moscow to the family of famous Russian tea tradesmen. First steps towards education the boy made in the private school of Ennes. In 1850 Botkin was admitted to the medical faculty of Moscow State University, however, Sergey didn’t see himself as a doctor at that time.

In 1855 Sergey Botkin graduated from the university and was immediately sent to Sevastopol, where theatre of war was in full play. There Botkin worked under guidance of Nikolay Pirogov, famous Russian doctor, and deserved a flattering review from his supervisor. When the war ended, Sergey Botkin went abroad to improve his skills. Future medic got professional experience in all famous laboratories and clinics of France and Germany.

Upon his return to Russia, Sergey Botkin was invited to work with professor Shipulinsky in the Academy of Medicine and Surgery, and the following year Botkin took the position of his boss. Sergey Petrovich Botkin was recognized as an outstanding scientist, not only in Russia, but also abroad, owing his success to one of the most favourable moments in Russia’s historical life. As a public figure, Botkin appeared after the Crimean war, when the whole Russia was enthusiastically changing in all spheres of public and government life.

Changes did not pass by the Academy of Medicine and Surgery, and Sergey Botkin was the first medic in Russia to open a clinic, based upon European standards, where introduced latest research and analysis techniques, such as clinical discussion of patients. Apart from the clinic, Sergey Botkin saw success of studies in post-mortem confirmation of diagnoses, that was why all deaths were followed by autopsy, and students could see how postmortem diagnosis corresponded with intravital observations. Clinic laboratory was also full of young doctors, which studied various aspects of scientific theory and practice in medicine.

Sergey Botkin had an army of followers, more than 20 of which still head various medicine departments on Russian universities.

In 1860-1861, Sergey Botkin opened a clinical and research laboratory, where first Russian studies in clinical pharmacology and experimental therapy were performed. The scientist was the first to suggest that catarrhal jaundice (hepatitis) was caused by an infection. In early sixties of 19th century, Botkin was assigned an advising member of medical board of Ministry of Internal Affairs. In 1873 the scientist received the title of the Surgeon in Ordinary to the King (he was the court physician for Alexander II and Alexander III), and the same year he headed the society of Russian medics in St. Petersburg.

Sergey Botkin was also a talented public man, who used his talent for convincing city authorities that public hospitals require better treatment. His enthusiastic pressure resulted in construction of two more hospitals: St. George community and Alexander camp hospital. Moreover, Sergey Botkin paid attention to insufficient medical treatment of poorest dwellers of the Russian capital – many of his ideas rooted and flourish till nowadays. In 1886 Sergey Petrovich Botkin headed the Commission on Russia’s Rehabilitation, which collected priceless materials on sanitary state of the Russian society, however, the Commission stopped working, when its chairman died.

Sergey Botkin took to heart, when Women Medical Courses went into liquidation, despite the fact he never read any lectures at these Courses. Eminent medic did his best to help the Courses to reopen in one of municipal hospitals, and left 20 000 rubles, which arrived as charity from his deceased friend, for these Courses. Great medic was member of Vienna Academy of Sciences, many foreign scientific communities, as well as honorary member of almost all higher educational institutions and scientific communities of Russia.

Sergey Petrovich Botkin died on December 12, 1889, in Menton, France. The reason he died was a liver disease, which was complicated by a heart disease. Eminent medic was commemorated in many hospitals and public organization all over Russia.

Source: Sergey Botkin's biography

Kizilova Anna

Tags: Russian science Russian scientists Sergei Botkin   

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