Mikhail Yakovlevich Yarovinsky

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 08 November 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:998
  1. Boleslav Lichterman

    Medical historian who wrote a textbook on bioethics

    Mikhail Yakovlevich Yarovinsky was a pioneer of medical humanities in the former Soviet Union (USSR). He launched a health education programme on television, organised a healthcare museum and one of the first courses on medical ethics and deontology, and wrote a dozen books, including the first Russian textbook on bioethics for medical students.

    He was the fourth child in a humble Jewish family who escaped to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, from a small town near Poltava, Ukraine, during the hunger of 1933. The family survived because American relatives managed to send them some US dollars and a golden watch on a long chain. Dollars were exchanged for food, and fragments of golden chain were given as a bribe to get through multiple military cordons, hunger regions having been sealed off from the rest of the country.

    Mikhail Yarovinsky was interested in literature, history, and cinema. He dreamt of becoming an actor. Only those who graduated from high school with a gold medal had a chance of entering the All-Union Institute for Cinematography in …

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