Google paid tribute to Russian surgeon, professor, poet, and author Dr. Vera Gedroits on her 151st birthday with a special Doodle on Monday, April 19. She was the first female military surgeon in Russia, the first female professor of surgery, and the first woman to serve as a physician in the Imperial Palace of Russia. Here’s all you need to know about her:
1. Vera Ignatievna Gedroits was born in 1870 into a family of Lithuanian royal descent in Kiev, then part of the Russian Empire.
2. Vera Gedrowitz had five siblings but she was the youngest on ne who could read. One of her brothers died at a young age died at a young age due to lack of proper medical care. This incident inspired her to become a doctor.
3. They grew up on the family estate which was destroyed by fire in 1877, forcing them to move to a boarding house where their grandmother Natalia Mikhau taught the children reading, French, music, and dancing.
4. Following her involvement in a student movement, Dr. Gedroits was unable to complete her studies in Russia, and despite being openly lesbian, entered into a marriage of convenience, which allowed her to obtain a passport in another name and leave the country.
5. 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.
6. In early 1904, with the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War, Gedroits volunteered to go to the front with the Red Cross.
7. In the first month of the war, she treated 1,255 patients, including over 100 patients with head wounds and 61 patients with abdominal wounds. Later, she was appointed chief surgeon of the hospital train, which consisted of an operating car and five patient cars.
8. Diagnosed with cancer in 1931, Gedroits died in March 1932, aged 61, of uterine cancer.
9. She was one of Russia’s first women to work as a surgeon, the first woman to become a professor of surgery, the first woman to work as a military doctor, and the first woman to serve as a doctor in the imperial palace.
10. By her own assessment in 1928, Gedroits published 58 scientific papers, which included articles and textbooks dealing with general surgery, as well as facial and dental reconstructions, military fieldwork, and pediatric surgery. Most of her works were released in Russian, though some were published in French, German, or Swedish.