Military doctors provided medical assistance on the battlefield, under enemy fire, and if the situation required it, they became soldiers themselves.Between 1941 - 1945 doctors, paramedics, nurses and orderlies healed about 17 million soldiers and officers of the Red Army, 72.3% of the wounded and 90.6% of the sick returned to theirduty.
Marshal of the Soviet Union G.K. Zhukov wrote that "... under the conditions of war, the victory depends to a large extent on the successful work of the military medical service, especially military field surgeons." War experience further confirmed these words.
The most acute problem of domestic medicine during the Second World War was the shortage of medical workers. To increase the number of medical personnel in 1942–1943 early graduations from senior courses of medical universities and military medical academies were made, and accelerated training of paramedics and nurses was organized. Between 1941 – 1945over 65,000 doctors were trained by the country's universities and were then sent to the army, and 80,000 doctors were called up from the reserve.
The second important problem was the lack of medications, disinfectants, dressings. Everything that was missing, doctors tried to construct on their own from improvised means. Very often, instead of bandages, clean linen, sheets or towels wereused. Tires were used to transport the wounded, which the orderlies themselves made from improvised means.
Military medicine, as well as the healthcare system, received a powerful development during the war in the following areas:
- military field surgery;
- military field therapy;
- sanitary and hygienic provision of the army and rear;
- military pathology.
The contribution of scientists from the times of the Second World War can hardly be overestimated.
The method of novocaine vagosympathetic blockade developed by Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR A. D. Speransky and military surgeon A. V. Vishnevsky was implemented into the military medical practice. The new method of anesthesia was used in 85–90% of cases.
A pivotal role in the theory of surgical aid was played by the works of N. I. Pirogov, who successfully treated patients on the battlefields of the Crimean War and investigated various methods of the management of wounds in practice. He defined war as a "traumatic epidemic."
In addition to the achievements of pathophysiologists, I would like to note the discoveries of chemists and pharmacologists. Dr Shostakovsky Mikhail synthesized the drug "vinylin" (Shostakovsky's balm), which has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and epithelial effects. The drug was widely used in field hospitals to stimulate the regeneration of damaged tissues.
The medical service of the Red Army, due to its scientific approach to the organization of medical support for the army, experience and the development of new, most rational forms and methods of activity at all stages of medical evacuation, managed to achieve unprecedented results: out of the total number of wounded, 71.7% were returned to service, patients - 86.7%, which in absolute terms amounted to over 17 million people.
Medical workers, not sparing their strength and lives, continued to save people’s lives every minute in the most difficult conditions. Superhuman efforts, courage and spiritual and moral qualities of medical workers contributed to the victory. Orderlies, nurses, doctors, medical instructors - each of them bravely fulfilled their duty to the Motherland. Their labor feat is an exceptional example of heroism. These efforts did not go unnoticed: during the war years, 44 medical workers wereawarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union and 285 physicians were awarded with the Order of Lenin. And in total, during the Second World War, over 115 thousand employees of the military medical care system, which was quite complicated in its structure, were awarded orders and medals.
During the Second World War, doctors did a titanic work to save the soldiers and the injured civilian population. Courage, selflessness and honor - these words describe the great people who saved lives on the battlefield. The labors of physicians made a great contribution to the victory and to the further development of medicine. These people, together with the soldiers, fought for victory and the happy future.