Russian surgeon Nikolai Vasilievich Sklifosovsky was born on April 6 (March 25, old style) 1836 on a farm near the city of Dubossary, Tiraspol district, Kherson province
(now the territory of the Republic of Moldova).
He was the ninth child in a large (only 12 children) family of a poor nobleman Vasily Sklifosovsky, who served as a clerk for the Dubossary quarantine office.
After graduating from the Odessa gymnasium, he entered the Moscow University at the Faculty of Medicine. After graduating in 1859, Sklifosovsky worked as an intern, then as the head of the surgical department of the Odessa city hospital.
In 1863 Sklifosovsky defended his thesis for the degree of Doctor of Medicine.
In 1866-1868 he trained in hospitals and clinics in Germany, France, England. This trip allowed Nikolai Sklifosovsky to get acquainted with surgical schools and directions in the advanced countries of Europe.
In 1870, on the recommendation of Nikolai Pirogov, Sklifosovsky received an invitation to take the department of surgery at Kiev University.
In 1871-1880, Sklifosovsky was a professor at the Military Medical Academy in St. Petersburg, where he taught a course in surgical pathology, and at the same time was in charge of the clinical department of a military hospital.
In 1880, the council of Moscow University unanimously elected Nikolai Sklifosovsky to head the department of the faculty surgical clinic of the Faculty of Medicine, which he headed until 1893. From 1882 to 1888 he was Dean of the Faculty of Medicine.
In 1893, Sklifosovsky was appointed director of the Institute for Advanced Medical Studies, where he worked until 1900.
Several times Nikolai Sklifosovsky interrupted his career to take part in various military campaigns. This was the case during the Austro-Prussian War during his internship abroad (1866-1868), during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871), the Balkan War (1876), the Russian-Turkish War (1877-1878). In military campaigns, he gained practical experience, working in dressing stations, as a military field surgeon, a consulting surgeon, and a leading surgeon in the Russian army.
Sklifosovsky gained vast experience in organizing medical support. A thorough analysis of fractures and gunshot wounds made it possible for the doctor to propose a number of important therapeutic and organizational measures, and the disinfection of the operating site and instruments introduced by him significantly reduced mortality. All the experience gained as a military surgeon Nikolai Vasilyevich later outlined in articles published in the newspaper “Medical Bulletin” and in the Military Medical Journal.
The desire for public service was expressed in the creation, on his initiative, of the clinical campus of Moscow University (now the clinic of the First Moscow State Medical University) on Devichye Pole. Using his high medical authority in Moscow, he collected large donations from the merchants for the construction of this town.
Sklifosovsky's contribution to Russian medicine is enormous. He contributed to the introduction of the principles of antisepsis and asepsis in Russian surgery, was one of the pioneers of abdominal surgery (surgical treatment of female diseases, diseases of the stomach, liver and biliary tract, bladder); developed an original operation of joining bones with false joints (“Sklifosovsky's castle”, or “Russian castle”)
Sklifosovsky's contribution to Russian dentistry is significant. He demanded to include dentistry as a science in the curriculum of higher medical schools. At the VI Congress of Russian Naturalists and Physicians, at the suggestion of Sklifosovsky, a decision was unanimously adopted to create independent clinical associate professors in dental diseases.
A great contribution to the development of maxillofacial surgery was performed by Sklifosovsky operations for large facial defects. He was the first in the world to use local anesthesia with a solution of cocaine in an operation for a cleft palate. He designed an apparatus to maintain anesthesia during operations on the jaws and in the oral cavity. With the help of such a device, Sklifosovsky performed a rare operation – resection (removal by surgery) of both halves of the upper jaw.
As a true scientist, Nikolai Sklifosovsky attached great importance to the exchange of observations and experience among surgeons. He was the founder of the Society of Russian Physicians, the founder and chairman of the first congress of surgeons of the country (1990), organizer, chairman and participant of the Pirogov congresses.
Sklifosovsky was a supporter of female education. Thanks to his participation, at the Medical-Surgical Academy, women's courses for midwives were opened, where women could receive higher medical education. Sklifosovsky's immense talent as a public figure and organizer manifested itself in the preparation and holding of the 12th International Congress of Surgeons, held in Moscow in August 1897 and attracting a large number of participants.
Sklifosovsky is the author of 114 scientific papers reflecting the innovative ideas and personal experience of an outstanding doctor and have become a valuable contribution to the treasury of world science.
He was co-editor of the journal “Surgical Chronicle” and co-editor and founder of the Chronicle of Russian Surgery, and then the Russian Surgical Archive.
Among the students and followers of Sklifosovsky are the outstanding Russian surgeons Alexander Trauber, Vasily Kuzmin and Ivan Spizharny, the outstanding Russian therapist Mikhail Yanovsky, and others.
In 1901, Sklifosovsky retired and moved to his Yakovtsy estate in the Poltava province, where he lived the last years of his life.
On December 13 (November 30, old style), 1904, Nikolai Sklifosovsky died in Yakovtsy, and was buried there.
The name Sklifosovsky was given to the Institute of Emergency Medicine in Moscow (now the N.V. Sklifosovsky Research Institute of Emergency Medicine), founded in 1923 on the basis of one of the oldest Moscow hospitals.
The material was prepared on the basis of information from open sources