Sir James Wylie, 1st Baronet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Sir James Wylie, 1st Baronet
James Wylie by Zichi.jpg
Mihály Zichy's portrait of Sir James Wylie in 1841.
Born
James Wylie

13 or 20 November 1768
Died2 March 1854(1854-03-02) (aged 85)
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh, King's College, Aberdeen
Known forone of the organizers of military medicine in Russia
AwardsRussian Empire

Order of Saint Vladimir 2nd Class (1812)
Order of St. Anna 1st Class (1814, since 1821 with diamonds)
Order of Saint Alexander Nevsky 3rd Class (1828, since 1838 with diamonds)
Order of Saint Vladimir 1st Class (1840)
Austria
Order of Leopold 2nd Class
Bavaria
Merit Order of the Bavarian Crown, Commander
France
Legion of Honour, Chevalier (1807 or 1809)
Prussia
Order of the Red Eagle, 2nd class (1835)
Württemberg

Order of the Crown
Scientific career
Fieldssurgery, military medicine

Sir James Wylie, 1st Baronet (Russian: Я́ков Васи́льевич Ви́ллие Yakov Vasilyevich Wylie) (13 or 20 November 1768 — 2 March 1854), was a Scottish physician who served as a battlefield surgeon and court physician in the Russian Empire from 1790 until his death in 1854, and as President of the Imperial Medical and Surgical Academy from 1808 to 1838. He is considered one of the organizers of military medicine in Russia.

Biography[edit]

James Wylie was born on 13 or 20 November 1768 in Tulliallan by Kincardine-on-Forth, Scotland. He was the second of five children of Janet Meiklejohn and her husband, a priest William Wylie. After leaving school Wylie was apprenticed to the local doctor. In 1786 he matriculated at the University of Edinburgh, but received the degree of Doctor of Medicine from King's College, Aberdeen, only in 1794.

In 1790 Wylie was invited to Russia by Dr John Rogerson (1740—1828), a court physician to Catherine the Great. He entered the Russian service as senior surgeon in the Eletsky Infantry Regiment. Wylie participated in the Polish–Russian War of 1792 and in military operations against the Kościuszko Uprising, culminated in the Battle of Praga. In 1794 he was promoted to staff surgeon.[1]

Retired after the end of the war, Wylie practiced in Saint Petersburg. His reputation grew quickly. Successful operations on the Danish ambassador, Baron Otto von Bloom, and later on Count Ivan Kutaisov, the Tsar's closest confidant, made him Surgeon-in-Ordinary to Paul I in 1799. When Paul I was murdered on 23 March 1801, Wylie embalmed the body and gave a certificate that the cause of death was apoplexy.[2]

In 1804 Alexander I invited Wylie back to military service as Medical Inspector of the Imperial Guard. On 2 December 1805 he accompanied the Tsar during the Battle of Austerlitz. In 1808 Wylie was elected President of the Imperial Medical and Surgical Academy in Saint Petersburg.[3]

Wylie was appointed Inspector General for the Army Board of Health in 1806, and became Director of the Medical Department of the Imperial Ministry of War in 1812. On 7 September 1812 at Borodino he performed about 80 operations on the field. He also attended the mortally wounded General Prince Pyotr Bagration, Commander-in-Chief of the 2nd Russian army. On 27 August 1813 at Dresden he amputated the mortally wounded General Moreau's legs, which were shattered by a cannon shot as he was talking to the Tsar.[4]

Wylie accompanied Alexander I during his visit to England in 1814, and was knighted by the Prince Regent, becoming Sir James Wylie. On 2 July 1814, at the special request of the Tsar, Wylie was created a baronet in the name and on behalf of George III. On 2 February 1824 his title was recognized by the State Council of the Russian Empire, making him the only baronet in the country's history.

Wylie attended Alexander I at the Congress of Verona in 1822, and was with the Tsar during his last tour to the South of Russia, which was ended by Alexander's death at Taganrog on 1 December 1825.

The Scottish doctor continued to enjoy imperial confidence under Alexander's brother and successor, Nicholas I. During the Napoleonic Wars and the Russo-Turkish War (1828–29), Wylie took part in more than 50 battles. In 1841 he was promoted to the rank of Actual Privy Councilor (II grade of the Table of Ranks).[5]

Wylie died at Saint Petersburg on 2 March 1854, and was buried at the Volkovo Lutheran Cemetery.

Contribution to Russia's military medicine[edit]

During the Napoleonic Wars in 1812, Russian military doctors worked as part of a coherent system, with a high level of organization in evacuating the wounded from the battlefield to field hospitals for operations and recuperation. This complex mechanism was set up by Wylie, who came to live in Russia in the late 1700s and was named physician to the Tsar’s household. Wylie made it his personal goal to ensure that enlisted men as well as officers received medical treatment for wounds instead of being left to die on the battlefield. Through concerted efforts on his part, the number of non-combat losses in peacetime in the Russian army fell to ten percent by the mid-19th century. A huge drop in modern terms, this was an even greater achievement in an era when every fourth European soldier died of disease.[6]

Wylie also published a number of works on field surgery, pharmacopoeia, contageious diseases, cholera and plague.

In 1823, Wylie, as Director of the Medical Department, started the Voenno-Meditsinskii Zhurnal (Journal of Military Medicine), one of Russia's most significant periodicals. Nowadays it is the oldest Russian peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Awards[edit]

Russian Empire[edit]

Austria[edit]

Bavaria[edit]

France[edit]

Prussia[edit]

Württemberg[edit]

Memory[edit]

Monument to Sir James Wylie in front of the Imperial Military Medical Academy in 1914 (as photographed by Karl Bulla)

Having no children, he bequeathed a considerable fortune of 1.5 million rubles for the construction of a hospital attached to the Imperial Medical and Surgical Academy. The ensemble of its five buildings was finished in 1873. Before the October Revolution of 1917 it was known as the Mikhailovskaya Baronet Wylie Clinical Hospital. Nowadays the former hospital hosts several departments of the S.M. Kirov Military Medical Academy.

A monument to Sir James Wylie designed by architect Andrei Stakenschneider and sculptor David Jensen was erected in 1859 in front of the main building the Medical and Surgical Academy in Saint Petersburg. In 1949 — 1951 by decision of the S.M. Kirov Military Medical Academy headship it was removed to the courtyard of the former Clinical Hospital built with Wylie's funds.

Wylie was depicted by Leo Tolstoy as a character in his epic novel «War and Peace».

Works[edit]

  • On the American Yellow Fever, St. Petersburg, 1805 [in Russian]
  • Pharmacopœia Castrensis Ruthenica, 1808-1812-1818-1840 [in Latin]
  • Practical Observations on the Plague, Moscow, 1829 [in Russian]
  • Rapport officiel à Sa Majesté Impériale sur la valeur comparée des méthodes thérapeutiques appliquées dans les hôpitaux militaires et à Saint-Pétersbourg aux sujets atteints de la maladie épidémique dite le choléra morbus, avec des observations pratiques sur la nature du fléau et sur ce que l'on apprend par l'ouverture des cadavres, St. Petersburg, 1831 [in French]
  • Description de l'ophthalmie qui a sévi parmi les troupes, St. Petersburg, 1835 [in French]

References[edit]

  1. ^ E. I. Zaytsev, Yakov Vasilyevich Wylie (1768–1854), Vestnik Khirurgii im. I. I. Grekova, vol. 168, № 4, 2009, pg 9 [in Russian]
  2. ^ Robert Hutchison, A Medical Adventurer. Biographical Note on Sir James Wylie, Bart., M.D., 1758 to 1854. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, 06/1928; 21(8):1406.
  3. ^ E. I. Zaytsev, Yakov Vasilyevich Wylie (1768–1854), Vestnik Khirurgii im. I. I. Grekova, vol. 168, № 4, 2009, pg 9 [in Russian]
  4. ^ Robert Hutchison, A Medical Adventurer. Biographical Note on Sir James Wylie, Bart., M.D., 1758 to 1854. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, 06/1928; 21(8):1407.
  5. ^ V. P. Tyukin, L. P. Churilov, Yakov Vasilyevich Wylie: Half a Century at Head of the Russian Medicine, Medicina v XXI veke, № 4 (5), 2006, pg 103 — 104 [in Russian]
  6. ^ Alexander Vershinin, Russia’s giant leap forward in military medicine (Russia & India Report, 2 December 2014)
  • Robert Hutchison, A Medical Adventurer. Biographical Note on Sir James Wylie, Bart., M.D., 1758 to 1854. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, 06/1928; 21(8):1406–1408.
  • A. A. Novik, V. I. Mazurov, P. A. Semple, The life and times of Sir James Wylie Bt., MD., 1768–1854, body surgeon and physician to the Czar and chief of the Russian Military Medical Department. Scottish Medical Journal, 1996 Aug; 41(4):116-20.
  • V. P. Tyukin, L. P. Churilov, Yakov Vasilyevich Wylie: Half a Century at Head of the Russian Medicine, Medicina v XXI veke, No. 4 (5), 2006, pg 100 — 107 [in Russian]
  • E. I. Zaytsev, Yakov Vasilyevich Wylie (1768–1854), Vestnik Khirurgii im. I. I. Grekova, vol. 168, No. 4, 2009, pg 9 — 10 [in Russian]
  • Mary McGrigor, The Tsar's Doctor: The Life and Times of Sir James Wylie (Edinburgh: Birlinn General, 2010)
  • L.P. Churilov, Y. I. Stroyev, V. P. Tyukin, Hero of the Patriotic War of 1812 Baronet Yakov Vasilyevich Wylie and the Russian Medicine, Zdorovye — osnova chelovecheskogo potentsiala: problemy i puti ih resheniya, vol. 7, No. 2, 2012, pg 974 — 995 [in Russian]