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Vera Gedroits, also known as Princess Vera Gedroits, was a Russian surgeon, writer, and poet who lived from 1870 to 1932. She is widely recognized as the first female military surgeon in Russia and is also known for her contributions to the field of medicine and literature.
Early Life and Education of Vera Gedroits
Princess Vera Gedroits was born into an aristocratic family in Kiev, Ukraine, in 1870. She grew up in a wealthy household and was raised by her mother, who was a doctor. From a young age, Vera was interested in medicine and literature, and she began writing poetry as a teenager.
In 1892, Vera enrolled in medical school at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, where she became the first woman to receive a degree in surgery. She also received training in pathology, anatomy, and microbiology, and went on to complete additional training in surgery at the University of Moscow.
Career of Vera Gedroits
After completing her medical education, Vera returned to Russia and began working as a surgeon at the Military Medical Academy in St. Petersburg. She was the first female surgeon to work in a military hospital in Russia and was eventually promoted to the position of Chief Surgeon of the First Brigade of the Russian Army.
During World War I, Vera worked as a battlefield surgeon and treated wounded soldiers on the front lines. She also developed new techniques for treating gunshot wounds and injuries, which were later adopted by the military. Her work on the front lines earned her the Order of Saint George, which was Russia’s highest military honor.
After the war, Vera continued to work as a surgeon and became a professor at the Military Medical Academy. She also published several medical textbooks and articles on surgical techniques and wound treatment.
Literary Career of Vera Gedroits
Gedroits began her literary career in the early 1900s, writing poetry and prose. She was a member of the Symbolist movement and her work often focused on themes of love, nature, and spirituality. In 1906, she published her first collection of poetry, titled “The Book of Eve.” Her writing was well-received and she quickly became a prominent figure in literary circles.
In addition to her literary pursuits, Gedroits was also a trained surgeon. She studied medicine at the University of Bern in Switzerland and later became one of the first female surgeons in Russia. During World War I, she served as a surgeon in the Russian Army and was awarded the Cross of St. George for her bravery.
After the Russian Revolution in 1917, Gedroits emigrated to France, where she continued to write and practice medicine. She published several more collections of poetry, as well as a memoir about her experiences as a surgeon during the war, titled “Life and Death in a Field Hospital.”
Gedroits died in 1932 at the age of 62. Her literary work has been re-discovered in recent years and she has now been recognized as an important figure in Russian literature and the women’s rights movement.
Vera Gedroits family
Vera Gedroits’s father, Mikhail Gedroits, was a prominent military physician and her mother, Olga Gedroits, was a writer and translator. Vera had five siblings, including her older brother, Mikhail Gedroits, who also became a physician and professor of surgery.
Despite her family’s wealth and social standing, Vera was drawn to medicine and chose to study at the University of Zurich, where she became one of the first women to graduate from its medical school in 1892.
During World War I, Vera served as a military surgeon for the Russian army and later worked as a physician and medical researcher in Russia and France. She is best known for her pioneering work in the field of abdominal surgery and for her contributions to the development of the first Russian-language surgical textbook.
Vera Gedroits died in 1932 at the age of 62.
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