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Vera Gedroits: Google Doodle celebrates 151st birthday of Russia’s first woman military surgeon
She authored several medical papers on nutrition and surgical treatments during her time as a professor
Keeping up with its tradition of celebrating trailblazers, Google on Monday celebrated the 151st birthday of Dr. Vera Gedroits, who is credited as the country’s first female military surgeon and one of the world’s first female professors of surgery. Not only that, she was also a poet and author.
“Thank you, Vera Gedroits, for pushing the world of medicine forward, even with the odds stacked against you,” Google wrote.
Notably, Vera Ignatievna Gedroits was born on April 19 in 1870 into a prominent family of Lithuanian royal descent in Kiev, then part of the Russian Empire. In her late teens, she left Russia to study medicine in Switzerland. Dr. Gedroits returned home at the turn of the 20th century, and she soon began her pioneering medical career as the surgeon at a factory hospital.
In an official statement, Google states, “When the Russo-Japanese War broke out in 1904, Dr. Gedroits volunteered as a surgeon on a Red Cross hospital train.Under threat of enemy fire, she performed complex abdominal operations in a converted railway car with such unprecedented success that her technique was adopted as the new standard by the Russian government. Following her battlefield service, Dr. Gedroits worked as a surgeon for the Russian royal family before her return home to Kiev, where she was appointed professor of surgery at the University of Kiev in 1929.”
She authored several medical papers on nutrition and surgical treatments during her time as a professor, but her talent as a writer was not limited to academics. Dr. Gedroits also published multiple collections of poems, and several nonfiction works, including the 1931 memoir simply titled “Life,” which told the story of her personal journey that led to service on the front lines in 1904.
Vera Gedroits was diagnosed with cancer in 1931 and died in March 1947 at the age of 78.