Military medicine: features and history of development

On the battlefield, valor manifests itself not only in the number of lives taken away, but also in the number of saved. Only thanks to doctors, wounded warriors have a chance to survive, and the sovereign rulers noted this fact from ancient times. Military medicine has a rich history and is considered the progenitor of the modern health care system.

What it is?

The written history of mankind has existed for 5000 years, and for all this time only 292 years we were able to live without wars. 16 thousand large and small confrontations claimed the lives of about 4 billion people and forever remained bloody spots in the history of mankind.

Military medicine is a medical service that develops theoretical and practical methods of health care for the armed forces. It also promotes the creation of special measures to protect the health of the military in peacetime / wartime and develops comprehensive rehabilitation programs for the rehabilitation of the sick and wounded.Thanks to these manipulations, the combat capability of the troops is maintained.


Military medicine promotes health. Warns the occurrence of injuries and diseases that may appear in a soldier during military service. In case of their appearance provides assistance. Such diseases and injuries usually include gunshot wounds, radiation sickness, infections and chemical intoxications. Also, military medicine studies and develops criteria determining the medical and psychological suitability of a person for military service.

military medicine

The improvement of military craft, medicine and the health care system determined the need for the development of military medicine. As a result, many related disciplines have emerged:

  • Military field medicine (in particular, therapy and surgery).
  • Hygiene.
  • Military toxicology, radiology and medical protection.
  • Organization and tactics of the medical service.
  • Management of the medical service.
  • Military pharmacy and epidemiology.
  • Medical support troops.

Each of them has its own field of activity, they can be considered independent branches, but still they form a single whole.

One of the most important areas is the organization and tactics of the medical service (OMS). This is a discipline that studies and practices medical support for troops in wartime. Its founder, N. Pirogov, first spoke about the need to study the nature and methods of warfare in order to develop a strategy for organizing medical care. In wartime, this service must provide medical support, staff the medical services with personnel, prepare personnel for work in war conditions. Make medical intelligence and protect medical units.

The task of medicine during the conduct of hostilities

Medical support during active combat operations should include the following measures:

  1. Evacuation and treatment.Military doctors must search for, collect, evacuate the wounded and sick, and provide them with medical assistance. This will save the lives of the maximum number of people and provide a quick rehabilitation.
  2. Prevention and hygiene.The main task is to preserve the combat capability of personnel, improve health and prevent disease.
  3. WMD Protection(weapons of mass destruction). Physicians are obliged to prevent or weaken the effect on personnel of the damaging factors of nuclear, chemical and bacteriological weapons.
  4. Property security.The task of the medical staff also includes the procurement, storage and distribution of special material resources necessary to assist the wounded. That is, doctors should take care of bandages, antiseptics, antibiotics, etc. In addition, all personnel should be provided with individual means of first aid.

Ancient world

The history of military medicine dates back to ancient times. For the first time, Hippocrates spoke of her, describing the main elements of the discipline. He had to live during the Greco-Persian wars, and the thinker himself was often engaged in treating the wounded. As a result, he put all of his accumulated experience in the work Treatise on Wounds. He first proposed an effective method of reducing the dislocation of the shoulder.

military medicine training

In ancient India, a special brigade carried away the wounded from the battlefield; they were given first aid in tents-tents equipped for this.

Relatively high development reached treatment of the military in the Roman Empire.We can say that the Roman army was the first, which included doctors who knew military affairs.

The development of military medicine in Russia

For the first time, first aid was rendered on the battlefield in Ancient Russia. During the reign of Yaroslav the Wise, warriors used a tourniquet to stop the bleeding, and in quivers with arrows wore headscarves to bind up wounds.

In the Russian army there were always people with experience in treating wounds, but they, like everyone, took part in the battle. The first effective step in the direction of stabilizing the process of rendering medical aid was taken after Mikhail Romanov came to power. In 1620, Anisim Radischevsky completed the first military decree of the Russian Charter - “A military book about all shooting and fiery tricks”. In this treatise for the first time identified the main elements of military medicine. The basics (financial, legal and organizational) governing the presence of doctors as part of the troops and the procedure for rendering assistance to the wounded were mentioned.

Also, the birth of military medicine was influenced by the “Decree of military, cannon and other cases related to military science”.He saw the world in 1621, and here for the first time it was mentioned about the so-called doctor with a cart who was carrying drugs. 33 years later, in 1654, the Pharmaceutical Order is issued. It is believed that he had a great influence on the development of military medicine. In it features of service of the imperial court and Russian army were described. After the issuance of the order, the first medical school in the country was founded, where doctors were trained in military medicine and appointed to places in the artillery regiments.

history of military medicine

From Peter the Great to the Russian-Japanese War

Intensive development of military medicine falls on the reign of Peter I. Since the permanent national army was formed, it became necessary to organize a medical service. Special “medical officers” were created, which became an integral part of the military state.

In 1768-1774, the first elements of the evacuation system were born. Military operations at that time were accompanied by plague, this was the main reason for organizing a complex of anti-epidemic measures.

During the Patriotic War of 1812, dressing stations were organized in several regiments, and the military police had to carry the wounded from the battlefield.During the period of the Crimean War (1853-1856), for the first time, Russian soldiers were given staffed dressing facilities and sanitary transport. In the regimental staff, a military infirmary was broken up, and a divisional infirmary was assigned to each division.

In 1904-1905, when the Russian-Japanese war was going on, evacuation became the main idea of ​​medical support, and hospitals were organized in the rear of the troops.

During the so-called lull, when fighting ceased under a relatively peaceful sky, medical services were reorganized. To increase their mobility, they created a special medical battalion. In 1941, before the start of World War II, the troops introduced the principle of uninterrupted removal of the wounded from the battlefield. The military stages approached the maximum distance to the front line and transported the wounded to specialized hospitals that had already created a powerful military healthcare system.

Medicine in the war years

During the Second World War, the Academy of Medical Sciences was established. Its intellectual basis was made by military physicians N. Burdenko, L. Orbeli, I. Dzhanelidze and others.The rich experience of the Academy of Military Medicine was subsequently formed the basis of the work of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

establishment of military medicine

On November 12, 1942, the Museum of the Medical Service of the Red Army was established. He collected all the major medical achievements of the past centuries. On the basis of the Museum of Military Medicine, academicians prepared 35 volumes summarizing the experience of Soviet medicine during the Great Patriotic War.

During the period of the conduct of hostilities, the mass heroism of military medics was clearly manifested. Thanks to their dedication, 90% of patients and 70% of the wounded returned. More than 116 thousand doctors received orders and medals, 47 were awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.

In mid-1944, doctors began to test penicillin for the treatment of wounds, the number of applications of canned blood and blood substitutes increased. This made it possible to save lives for 72% of wounded soldiers.

Deadly fire

In a deadly battle, when the whole country was plunged into the agony of a fierce confrontation, physicians were on the battlefield next to the troops. They carried out wounded soldiers, delivered them to medical stations, rendered first aid and evacuated to medical battalions, hospitals and other specialized institutions.The medical service was well organized and worked without interruption. More than 200 thousand doctors, 500 thousand paramedics, nurses, orderlies and sanitary instructors were in the fleet and the army.

I. Baghramyan, Marshal of the Soviet Union, once noticed that the image of the military physician will forever remain for him the personification of humanism, courage and dedication. How many of them were killed at the front, do not count. So many doctors took an active part in the fighting and received so little reward. Not because some were better, but because many simply did not live up to the bright Victory Day.

military disaster medicine

Most of the doctors were women. It was on their fragile shoulders borne the brunt of military everyday life. While the entire male population was on the front line, the elderly, the children, the handicapped and the wounded needed the help of a nurse.

After the end of the war, health care began to tackle new tasks: the protection of civil servants and civilians from biological, chemical, and radiation hazards; providing space flights; development of military medicine of disasters and emergency situations.

Medical system of Russia

Today, one of the main problems of the development of the Russian Federation is the tendency to increase mortality. The level of medical care does not allow pensioners to remain able to work and take part in the production of goods and services. On the other hand, there is another problem - only highly developed countries can withstand the influence of modern weapons of mass destruction. Therefore, health care should be considered as the basis of national security.

Today, the development of military medicine is coordinated by the Main Military Medical Directorate. It is intended for the organization of medical support of the Armed Forces. The basis of the practical development of this area is the Academy of Military Medicine in St. Petersburg, the hospital system, military clinics, hospitals and sanatoriums. Separately, the State Institute of Advanced Medical Studies is allocated, as well as 3 hospital vessels are at the disposal of military medical personnel.

Let military medicine and is considered an area where you can openly demonstrate a systematic approach to serving 3 million people, there are still a lot of flaws. One of them is the distinction between military medicine and civilian medicine.They are considered to be completely multidirectional spheres of activity, because of this, most of the achievements are duplicated, and development occurs several times slower. For example, in the USA solutions are being developed for the whole country, and here the development of military medicine is recognized as the leading one.

spb military medicine

Combat Medicine USA

US military medicine is aimed at providing support for the combat readiness of personnel. Conventionally, it can be divided into two programs. This is a military medical and defense against weapons of mass destruction. Although in general, combat medicine is divided into three segments of activity:

  1. Medical care for the military and their families, as well as military retirees, reserve soldiers, combatants. This includes not only the provision of practical medical care, but also rehabilitation after injuries and psychological support.
  2. Military field medicine. It is called to render medical assistance, evacuate the wounded to military hospitals, treat the sick and prepare seriously wounded people for evacuation to the mainland.
  3. Medical and biological protection. Provides military protection against the influence of weapons of mass destruction.

Military medicine in Russia and the United States is fundamentally different.In America, medical care for military personnel is the determining quality of the standard of living. In this system, there is a department of the adviser to the Minister of Defense (after all, he deals with this issue), medical departments of the infantry, military and air forces, medical officers and structures that ensure the implementation of programs.

More than 9.7 million people receive medical care every year. The Ministry of Defense operates 56 hospitals, 366 clinics, 257 veterinary clinics, 27 research facilities, 19 training centers and 11 institutes of military medicine. Medical support of the armed forces is at a high level, which many countries can only envy.

Meanwhile in Russia

The military is provided with specialized and qualified medical care in hospitals, branches and structural divisions. Where there are hospitals, branches and divisions, there are outpatient clinics.

The main hospitals of the country have all kinds of practical and diagnostic departments with the necessary equipment. The personnel are military doctors who can equally well assist both in the equipped department and in the field conditions.Attention is also paid to sanatorium and resort provision. The military and their families can improve their health in sanatoriums and rest homes.

If you look at the development of military medicine through the prism of the events of World War II, then it really has achieved outstanding success. But in the modern world, something went wrong. The health system has failed, and today it is clearly lagging behind in development from other countries. Combat medicine must organically enter the health care system, be an integral part of it, and share the results of achievements with it.

drugs in military medicine

Indeed, this medical area is a historically established complex with multidisciplinary specialized medical and scientific institutions and an army of doctors at the head. A few decades ago, it inspired respect, but today it’s time to move on. There are still many weak points in the modern system of military medicine.

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