Ravivõtted Tartus 19. sajandi lõpus: 1897. aasta Puka rongiõnnetuse ohvrite ravi Tartu ülikooli kliinikutes. Therapy in late 19th century Tartu: treatment of Puka railway accident victims at the clinics of the Universtity of Tartu in 1897


  • Anu Rae
  • Yaroslav Stadnichenko




The University of Tartu Museum stores patients’ medical records
in German, Russian and Estonian originating from the Clinic of Internal
Medicine that date back to the period of 1846–1962. These
records hold great, yet uncovered research potential for studying the
history of medicine of Estonia. This paper examines medical records
of 1897 railway accident victims.
On 1 May 1897 a military train drove off the tracks near Puka,
Estonia. 61 people died and around a hundred were injured, making
it the railway accident with highest death toll in Estonian history.
Victims with major injuries were treated at the Clinic of Surgery and
with minor injuries at the Clinic of Internal Medicine. Heavily injured
patients’ bone fractures were diagnosed with the help of an X-ray
Based on medical records, 42 victims were treated at the Clinic of
Internal Medicine. Bath and massage were mentioned as a treatment
in almost all the medical records in question. Four patients received
valerian, but the exact objective of its use remains unclear, although
it can be assumed it served a neurological purpose. Patients also
received codeine (7) and Dover’s powder (4), but no patient had both.
One patient received Secale cornutum, which was most likely used to
stop haemorrhaging. For wound care the following were used: carbolic
acid (1), boric acid (1), boric vaseline (2), iodoform (6), and potassium
bromide (8). We found from other sources that medics sterilized
their hands before wound inspection but did not have rubber gloves,
although surgeon Werner Zoege von Manteuffel recommended their
use in surgery the same year.


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