Yaroslav Hanitkevych

 


THE HISTORY OF UKRAINIAN MEDICINE IN NAMES AND DATES

 

L`viv, 2003

 

 

 

 

Summary

 

After Ukraine’s declaration of independence mass media and scientific literature have increasingly started using the term Ukrainian medicine. At first sight this can’t be but logical, while terms like German, American, Chinese, Polish, Russian medicine are generally accepted. Even during the Soviet times the terms Russian medicine and Soviet medicine were proudly used along with medicine in the UkrSSR and in the USSR.
However the attitude towards the concept of Ukrainian medicine is ambiguous. The objections to the usage of the term are grounded by the fact that medical knowledge is gathered for millennia by many peoples and nations, and thus is of international character. Besides there isn’t a clear definition to the concept of Ukrainian medicine, and different authors interpret it differently. Most frequently used is the clear term medicine in Ukraine that bares an idea of geographical location. This term often constitutes a part of titles of new magazines and editions.
The primary reason for such state of matters is that Ukraine was for centuries deprived of its sovereignty, and various fields of science and practice were subordinate to the ruling states. When Ukrainian territories were divided between Russia, Poland, Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, Romania, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary, the oppressors often prohibited or in many ways hindered the development of national culture and science. Under these conditions medicine on the Ukrainian territories was developing as a part of Russian, Austrian, or Polish medicine. As a result both in Soviet and Russian literature, and sometimes even in new Ukrainian publications the activity and successes of Ukrainian doctors are posed as achievements of a foreign medicine.
The origin of Ukrainian medicine may be dated back to the folk medicine of Kyiv Ukraine- Rus’ epoch. It then developed as monastery medicine and medicine of the Kozak State. The development of Ukrainian medicine was slowed down for a long time after Ukraine lost its independence.
The first steps in the making of modern Ukrainian medicine as a science were made in 1898-1910 when the first scientific associations of Ukrainian doctors were established (Ukrainian Scientific Society in Kyiv, and Shevchenko Scientific Society in Lviv), first works on medicine in Ukrainian were published (by Yevhen Ozarkevych, Martyriy Halyn, Oleksandr Cherniakhivskyi, and others), and the first disease prevention and treatment institution of clearly Ukrainian orientation – “Narodna Lichnytsia” (“People’s clinic”) – was established. At the same time Ukrainian doctors made themselves heard at European international medical forums in Paris, Madrid, Prague, and Belgrade; and the formations of Ukrainian Sichovi Stril’tsi and Ukrainian Halyts’ka Army health service established the new Ukrainian military medicine.
The term Ukrainian medicine or the equivalent Ukrainian national medicine itself came into use only after the collapse of Russian Empire and the creation of Ukrainian People’s Republic. In January 1918 the first in the Eastern Ukraine Ukrainian medical journal “Ukrains’ki Medychni Visti” (“Ukrainian Medical News”) was published. In its editorial “Our Tasks Today” Ovksentiy Korchak-Chepurkivskyi, the oldest Ukrainian professor-hygienist, the founder of social hygiene, wrote the following: “Our main task is to develop Ukrainian national medicine as a science and a practical field of knowledge”. To achieve this he thought it was necessary to: “open our own scientific and educational medical establishments; draw on the experience of folk medicine; promote unification of nationally aware doctors – social figures, avail ourselves of support from doctors and other medical workers of non-Ukrainian origin, return all Ukrainian medical resources that have been spread out all over the distant foreign lands to the home country”. Korchak-Chepurkivskyj himself organized and headed the first Ukrainian medical university department, he was among the founders of the All-Ukrainian Academy of Science where he established a medical section to serve the functions of a center of Ukrainian medical science development, organized a health research department, a prototype of later academic institutes. He also researched Ukrainian medical terminology as well as health condition and demographic situation of Ukraine’s population.
The Ministry of People’s Health and Care of Ukrainian State, Medical Department of Ukrainian Army, Ukrainian Red Cross, and a number of clinics were established at the same time. Ukrainian scholars began lecturing at medical schools in Ukrainian; they also took active part in organizing scientific and medical institutions. Medical educational establishments created in the following years were clearly Ukrainian in their form and content. These were Pathologoanatomical Institute headed by professor Pavlo Kucherenko, Kyiv Bacteriological Institute headed by professor Marko Neshchadymenko, Institute of Microbiology of All-Ukrainian Academy of Science headed by professor F. Omelchenko, Kharkiv Institute of Experimental Medicine, Kharkiv Psychoneurological Institute, and others.
Centers of Ukrainian scientific medicine also developed in this period – these were scientific schools of major medical specializations that researched actual problems of medicine; educated doctors, post-graduate students, and scholars; published Ukrainian dictionaries, text-books, scientific monographs, and collections; and their work was up to the European level. Among the first national scientific schools were those of surgeons (by Yevhen Cherniakhivskyi), obstetrician-gynecologists (by Oleksandr Krupskyi), physician-gerontologists (by Ivan Bazylevych), otolaryngologists (by Oleksandr Puchkivskyi), ophthalmologists (by Mykola Levitskyi), dermatologist-venerologists (by Oleksiy Tyzhnenko), specialists in occupational hygiene (by Volodymyr Pidhayetskyi), pathologists (by Pavlo Kucherenko), microbiologists (by Marko Neshchadymenko), physiologists and biochemists (by Valentyna Radzymovska), and pathophysiologists (by Mykola Vashetko). Surgeons Borys Andriyevskyi, Hryhoriy Ivanytskyi, Petro Shydlovskyi, psychoneurologist Mykhaylo Mishchenko, phthisiatricians Vasyl Plushch and Antin Sobkevych, radiologist O. Bohayevskyi, clinical physiologist and physician-gerontologist Ivan Bazylevych, histologist Oleksandr Cherniakhivskyi, sanitarians Ovksentiy Korchak-Chepurkivskyi and Volodymyr Udovenko, anatomists Arsen Starkov and Oleksiy Ivakyn, and microbiologist Fedir Omelchenko also began developing their schools. These scientists prepared dozens of special text-books, monographs, collections of scientific articles, and brought up many specialists.
A real contribution to the development of Ukrainian medicine was made by Yevmen Lukasevych and Borys Matiushenko – the authors of works on medicine and medical terminology, editors and publishers of first Ukrainian medical journals; Martyriy Halyn – the author of the first scientific medical dictionary and first Ukrainian publications on surgery; Maryan Panchyshyn – the founder and the dean of the Medical Department of underground Ukrainian University in Lviv (1921-1925), as well as Andriy Zhuravel, Mykola Kudrytskyi, Mykola Herashchenko, Mykola Sysak, and many others. It is important to mention first Ukrainian scientific medical journals that published researches and methodic materials, synopses of the achievements of medicine in the world, and news items about Ukrainian medicine. They are “Ukrayins’ki medychni visti” (“Ukrainian Medical News”, Kyiv, 1918, 1925-1931), “Ukrayins’kyi medychnyi arkhiv” (“Ukrainian Medical Archive”, Kharkiv, 1927-1932), “Profilaktychna medytsyna” (“Preventive Medicine”, 1929-1937), and “Likars’kyi visnyk” (“Doctors’ herald”, Prague, 1923-1925). Another “Likars’kyi visnyk” was being published in Lviv in 1921-1939, it was later resumed in Diaspora (1954- until now).
Practical medicine and health care also turned to the language of indigenous population; they were brought closer to people, and reorganized on the basis of doctors’ achievements in Ukrainian and the whole world.
Thus from the very start Ukrainian medicine consisted of Ukrainian scientific medical institutions, Ukrainian high medical schools, and Ukrainian health care establishments; it developed scientific, educational, practical and popular scientific literature.
In 1930-s, within the process of severe suppression of Ukrainian Renaissance by the totalitarian regime, when Ukrainian villages were wiped out by famine, and Ukrainian intellectuals were exiled to GULAG, the founders of Ukrainian scientific schools were done away with or dismissed from their work, pro-Ukrainian tendencies were hindered by administrative means, and scientific and educational establishments, as well as health-care institutions gained Russian orientation.
Ukrainian officials were substituted by international specialists, works by Ukrainian scholars were seized, and it was forbidden to mention them. This all was an attempt to erase the period of the development of Ukrainian medical science, Ukrainian medical schools and health care establishments from our history.
Instead of everything that had been dismissed Soviet higher schools - universities absolutely deprived of traditional in the whole world autonomy, as well as Soviet scientific institutions and health-care establishments, based almost exclusively on the traditions of Russian imperial medicine, started developing under the leadership of the Communist party. It was a period of russified and ideologized Soviet medicine in the UkrSSR, the time when it blew its own trumpet while hushing up or neglecting achievements of medicine in the world. The party leaders rudely interfered in the development of medicine, preventing sometimes by their decisions the establishment of whole branches of medical science, e. g. social medicine or genetics. The achievements of Ukrainian medicine of the “Ukrainian Renaissance” period, in particular text books, monographs, medical terminology, and Ukrainian lectures of Kyiv Medical Institute were claimed by communist authorities to be “nationalistic” and thus hostile and counter-revolutionary; and they were excluded from the history of Soviet medicine.
During the years of highly promoted so called “prosperity of Soviet Ukraine”, when in reality thousands of Ukrainians were exiled to Solovki, Siberia, and camps of GULAG, and when millions of countrymen died of artificially created famine, only a few doctors and scholars in scientific, educational, and health-care establishments of UkrSSR dared not to deny their language and culture, faith and traditions of their people. They presented speeches, publications, and theses in their native tongue.
During this period a great contribution to Ukrainian medicine and its history came from doctors in Ukrainian Diaspora. A number of essays on the history of Ukrainian medicine and health care were published in “Likars’kyi visnyk” (“Doctors’ herald”, New York – Chicago, 1954-2000, edited in the last 30 years by Pavlo Dzhul). Encyclopedia of Ukraine was edited by Shevchenko Scientific Society both in English and Ukrainian. Works of professor Vasyl Plushch “Outlines on the history of Ukrainian medical science and education” (Munich. – 1970. – Part 1. – 342 p.) and “Outlines on the history of Ukrainian medical science and education (19th and 20th cen.)” (Munich. UVAN. – 1983. – Part 2. – 372 p.) are of great importance. Besides, under Vasyl Plushch’s editorship “The materials on the history of Ukrainian medicine” (New York – Munich. – 1975. – v. 1. – 336 p.) were issued. The second volume of “The materials…” was published in Chicago in 1988 under the editorship of Pavlo Dzhul.
Ukraine’s declaration of its independence marked the beginning of the new stage of Ukraine’s medicine revival. It brought about the shift onto the state language at scientific, educational, and health-care establishments (in the Western region this shift was practically complete); research institutions also started working in this field. This has resulted in the establishment of several new periodicals, and publication of many medical dictionaries and text-books. Some medical forums were held almost exclusively in Ukrainian, e.g. I (XV) congress of surgeons of Ukraine. Some traditions of Ukrainian medicine are reviving: Ukrainian Physician Society in Lviv (O. Kites) has resumed its operation, while in Kyiv All-Ukrainian Physician Society ( L. Pyrih) has been established. These processes were promoted by 6 Ukrainian congresses of World Federation of Ukrainian Medical Associations (A. Khreptovskyi, P. Dzhul, and L. Pyrih).
However, in many scientific and educational institutions, and health-care establishments wi can often hear the language of our neighbor state; Ukrainian publications are still in minority in the bulk of new medical literature; new periodicals are often non-Ukrainian or bilingual with a small percentage of Ukrainian language, and they often contain chauvinistic, anti-Ukrainian materials. Quite a few scholars and doctors demonstrate their neglect of the state language when speaking for the mass media. After a number of years the scope of Ukrainian language in many medical institutions and health-care establishments has not widened, and on the contrary – it often has narrowed. Nowadays there are many doctors and scholars in Ukraine who would like to see Ukrainian medicine in Russian language, based on achievements of mostly Russian scholars, and on traditions of Russian imperial autocracy that have always had anti-Ukrainian coloring; thus they want to leave everything as it was during the tsar and totalitarian regimes. Unfortunately, the presidium and institutes of the Academy of Medicine in Ukraine are not an exception in this paradoxical situation.
It is clear that the continued ideological influence of the communist regime explains the fact that there is still no objective text-book on the history of medicine for higher medical schools. This course is read from the books of the Soviet times according to somewhat corrected old program.
Thus a lot has to be done in order for our modern medicine (including health care) to become Ukrainian in its form and content. Our task and the task of Ukrainian (in the essence, and not only in the citizenship) intellectuals, and Ukrainian scientific and medical elite (either of Ukrainian or of other origin) is to intensively develop Ukrainian medicine as a part of European and world medicine. This includes retreating the achievements and traditions of Ukrainian doctors, Ukrainian scientific medical schools of the 20th and 30th of the XX c. and later years, condemning and getting rid of the deformations created during the totalitarian regime, giving up the usage of the language that was imposed to us by the oppressor, and returning to the language of our people, as well as using the sources of world and Ukrainian culture and science. Ukrainian medicine can and should become an important part of the world medicine.
The information in this book is the result of ten years of painstaking research of various sources, including literature of previously unavailable special funds and deposits, archives, Diaspora editions, web-pages of medical establishments, and Ukrainian manuals (“Who is who in Ukraine” and others).
The first part of the book “Personaliyi” presents over 700 names. In the first place these are of doctors and medical scholars who developed Ukrainian national medicine, at first at the Medical section of Ukrainian Scholarly Society in Kyiv and Shevchenko Scholarly Society in Lviv, and then – during the period of Ukrainian nationalistic revolution and later during Ukrainian Renaissance – all over Ukraine. There are also names of doctors – ministers and founders of health care in Ukrainian People’s Republic, creators of Ukrainian Red Cross, members of diplomatic missions and delegations, those who even earlier had formed health-care service in the troops of Ukrainian Sichovi Stril’tsi, and in Ukrainian Halyts’ka Army. Names of first doctors and healers are also given.
The book gives the most important data on the doctors that worked during the XVIII – beginning of XX centuries on the Ukrainian terrains that were not only under Russian, but also under the rule of Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and Poland. It also presents information about doctors and scholars of non-Ukrainian origin that either were born on Ukrainian territories or were sent here by regime leaders to develop medicine of the neighbor nations. The manpower policy of the Soviet, Polish, and Romanian government created a situation that it was not local Ukrainian doctors, not Ukrainian by origin people, but foreign specialists were instrumental in the development of medicine on Ukrainian lands.
A great part of the book contains materials from the Soviet period, when a big network of scientific, educational, health-care, and sanitary establishments was created; the Soviet health care system was developed, outstanding doctors-scholars who often gained world recognition (V. P. Filatov, M. M. Amosov, and others) studied and worked on Ukrainian land. The ethnical background when known was also indicated (though some people keep it a secret or tell incorrect information). It can’t be ignored that the Soviet regime was very active in mixing medical specialists in the “Soviet pot”. Thus graduates of medical establishments of UkrSSR (those that had the all-Soviet status) were sent to the Russian and other republics while doctors and scientists mainly from Russia were sent to Western and Eastern Ukraine in order to speed up russification of the region, develop “Soviet” medicine, primarily based on Russian traditions, with the use of the foreign language.
The newly arrived personnel played the major role in the development of medical science and health-care system in UkrSSR. It was also them who presided in educational, scientific and health-care establishments.
Many of the newcomers took in and grew fond of Ukraine as their new Motherland; they mastered the language, became interested in the history and culture. However, party ideologists were doing everything possible in order to prevent such rooting in, so they would often swap specialists from one republic to another propagating a motto “Our house is the Soviet Union”. In spite of this, thanks to the work of these doctors medical science and practice continued developing on Ukrainian land.
The book specifies the names of the doctors of Ukrainian and other origin, who were born in Ukraine, often received their education there, but later studied and worked in other countries; many of such doctors and scientists moved to Russia, where they contributed greatly to the development of medical science and practical medicine. Many Ukrainians emigrated to the West, primarily to the USA and Canada, where they created strong Ukrainian Diaspora; and did much to preserve the traditions and history of Ukrainian medicine. The doctors of Ukrainian Diaspora have been helping medical establishments of independent Ukraine greatly, in particular while dealing with the results of Chornobyl catastrophe.
The second part of the book - “Dates” – gives data about approximately 2000 events of Ukrainian medicine, those on the Ukrainian terrains under the rule of other countries, and in the Diaspora among them; it also presents dates and events of the Soviet time, and of the period of Ukraine’s independence up till the year 2000. Special emphasis is placed on inventions and achievements of world importance accomplished by Ukrainian doctors or people born in Ukraine and working either within or beyond its borders. The book also presents data on the history of pharmacy in Ukraine.
The author will consider his task accomplished, if the given materials help Ukrainian doctors to become proud of the significant achievements of the centuries-long period of Ukrainian medicine’s coming into being, and stream its further development in the direction of forming Ukrainian medicine.
In future, the Ukraine state, just as the other states, should have its own medicine, Ukrainian by roots, traditions, language and content; worthy of becoming a part of the world medicine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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©Vasyl Dyakiv 2011

 

 

 

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