Nestor Ambodyk-Maksymovych

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Nestor Ambodyk-Maksymovych was born in the village of Vepryk in Poltava region into the family of a priest. He studied at Kyiv Theological Academy, then at the medical school of St. Petersburg Army Hospital. He wrote his Ph. D. thesis at the Strasbourg University’s Faculty of Medicine (1775).

Nestor Ambodyk-Maksymovych began his way to scientific medical Olympus in 1776 from the service in St. Petersburg Admiralty Hospital, and Kronstadt Military Hospital School where he taught pharmacology, medical and surgical practice and obstetrics in Russian (before him lectures were delivered in German). Since 1781 he headed St. Petersburg Midwifery School, which in 1787 was transformed into the Midwifery Institute. The scientist was a brilliant practical worker. He was among the first to perform operations using obstetrical forceps. N. Ambodyk-Maksymovych introduced mandatory training in the obstetrics ward and gave lectures to women who wanted to study obstetrics.

N. Ambodyk-Maksymovych is the author of the first Russian obstetrics and paediatrics hand book Midwifery Art or Women’s Science. He paid great attention to infant physiology issues, described the diseases that were typical for children of early age, pointed at the impossibility to replace mother’s milk while nursing children, emphasised the importance of observing the sanitary and hygienic norms and well-balanced nutrition. Nestor Maksymovych was the first of national educators who was honoured with the title of professor of obstetrics for his great contribution to the development of midwifery art (1782).

The scientist stressed the necessity of interrelation between medicine and other natural sciences. Ambodyk-Maksymovych is the author of topical and comprehensive works in the fields of medical botany and phytotherapy. Therein he attached special importance to medical herbs and emphasised the significance of studying the local flora. This creative personality merits high respect for collecting, creating and systematising scientific terms that entered into the dictionaries, written by him: Anatomic and Physiological Dictionary (1781), Medical and Surgical Dictionary (1785) and New Botanical Dictionary (1804). According to the decision of the Medical Board the works by Ambodyk-Maksymovych were published twice in his lifetime. The scientist donated his large library and mineralogical collection to the Medical and Surgical Academy.

The whole life of Ambodyk-Maksymovych, his talent and erudition were devoted to the development of national science.