Petr I. Diakonov (1855–1908) – surgeon, Doctor of Medicine, Professor of Emperor Moscow University, Medical Department.

Education. Graduated from Saint-Petersburg’s Medical-Surgical Academy in 1879.

In our University. Worked as the head of Operative Surgery and Topographical Anatomy Chair, Chair of Hospital Surgery and the head of the Hospital Surgical clinic, as a surgeon-consultant for the clinic of children’s diseases.

Brief biography. Petr Diakonov was born in Oryol. In 16 he became a student of Saint-Petersburg’s Medical-Surgical Academy. When a student he was arrested for revolution propaganda among the working and the soldiers. In 1877 P. I. Diakonov became a participant of the Russian-Turkish war. In reward for personal courage he was allowed to perform duties of a paramedic and return to academy after the war was over.

After graduating he worked in Oryol’s provincial (zemskaya) clinic. Here his amazing surgical work began. Desire to be a scientist has brought the young doctor to the Moscow University, Medical Department. In 1890 he began giving lectures, continued practicing. He acted as a consultant in many charity clinics and hospitals.

In 1893 he was appointed the head of Operative Surgery and Topographical Anatomy Chair. The period Diakonov’s talent blossomed the most was when he was leading the Hospital Surgical Clinic (1901–1908). During these years 23 dissertations have been written by Diakonov’s students, 362 scientific works have been published, the staff of the clinic took active part in Moscow Surgical Society, where Diakonov was the Chairman. In addition to that he organized the first Congress of surgeons, together with N. V. Sklifosovsky took part in edition of “Surgical chronicle” journal. P. I. Diakonov was a delegate of International Congresses in Moscow and in Paris.

Scientific achievements. In 1888 P. I. Diakonov defended his doctoral dissertation “Blindness statistics and some data on blindness etiology among the russian population”.

The choice of the subject for the dissertation work derived from the doctor’s interest in social medical problems.

He paid special attention to topographical anatomy. He was the first to describe retrosternal space (spatium retrosternalis).

P. I. Diakonov was consistently pushing forward principles of aseptics and antiseptics. The problem of anesthesia was the one which affected surgical progress, and that is why Diakonov took to it. He carried out a series of experimental studies on animals, and managed to work out measures to prevent cardio-vascular system damage under chloroform anesthesia. Experience was summarized in “Materials on revealing the clinical picture of chloroform death” 1890.

In Diakonov’s clinic chloroform anesthesia was thoroughly studied and improved, maximum dosages for different kinds of surgeries were specified.

P. I. Diakonov has worked out a number of original techniques, which have significantly enriched clinical surgery. Diakonov has worked out a method of umbilical hernia plastic (now it is called Diakonov-Starkov method ). He suggested a method of circular resection of rectum’s mucous membrane in cases of hemorrhoids, a surgical technique of cholecystectomy: he was the first one in Russia who after this surgery sewed up the abdominal cavity.

P. I. Diakonov was one of the first in the world who has raised the problem of postsurgical care.

Professor Diakonov has founded renowed scientific school, representatives of which have taken prominent place in the history of russian surgery.

The perpetuation of the memory in our University. Inside the Dean’s office of our University there is a bust of Professor Diakonov.

In the Museum of medical history. The Museum preserves documents, photographs of P. I. Diakonov, his works, for instance lifetime edition of “General operative surgery”, written by Professor P. I. Diakonov together with Professor F. A. Rein. Graduation albums contain photographs of Hospital Surgical Clinic, the surgeon performing a surgery.

On the display on may see craniotomy chisel of P. I. Diakonov’s construction (beginning of XX century). The book has a subtitle “Russian surgery”. Due to the new construction, an improved technique of trepanation became available. The chisel was given all-Russia status “Memorial of Science and technology”.


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