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Papers of the Week

2022 Feb 25


[The Inventor of the “Triage”: Dominique-Jean Larrey (1766-1842), Napoleon’s Chief Military Doctor].


During the reign of Emperor Napoleon I, Dominique-Jean Larrey (1766-1842) was chief surgeon in the French army. He has become known as the father of modern military surgery and for the development of the "triage system". Larrey was an outstanding and dedicated physician who provided medical care not only to his own troops but also to those of the enemy. Without reliable analgesia and anaesthesia, speed and skill were the most salient characteristics of a surgeon at that time. Against the opposition of the administration, Larrey is credited with the introduction of first-aid on the battlefield as well as a quick rescue of the wounded with the help of the so-called "flying ambulances". He was considered the soldiers' greatest friend.