Boris Petrovsky

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 03 June 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:1381

Innovative surgeon who became a health minister in the former Soviet Union under Leonid Brezhnev

Boris Vasiljevich Petrovsky was a patriarch of Soviet surgery, whose name symbolises an era in the development of Soviet medicine and health care. He was a general surgeon who made several major contributions to cardiovascular surgery, transplant surgery, and oesophageal surgery. He organised and headed the All-Union Research Institute for Clinical and Experimental Surgery (now the Russian Scientific Centre for Surgery of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences). After his retirement in 1989 he remained the director emeritus of the institute and died in its intensive care unit. For more than 15 years (1965-80) Petrovsky was minister of health in the former Soviet Union.

Born in the Stavropol region in the south of Russia (near the Caucasus) he became a medical student at Moscow University. Soon after his graduation in 1930 Petrovsky served in the Red Army as a doctor. In 1933 he became a research investigator at the Moscow Institute for Oncology, where his kandidatskaya dissertation …

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