"...the history of the first Medical Society in our country, which is the predecessor of the medical organization, is a part of the cultural history of the Bulgarian people, and therefore it is not devoid of significance."
Dr. A. Nedyalkov,
Varna Medical Society, Sofia, 1910
In a sequence of news and materials we are going to acquaint you with details and biographical notes regarding the members of the first elected management of the Varna Medical Society and its organizational life.
The Varna medical doctors - founders of the Society came from different nationalities. They were graduates of medical schools in different parts of the world and held various public positions. Nevertheless, they were all united by a common goal – the development of medical science and practice in the name of public health. We should underline that this was happening during the years after the Liberation, when there were hardly one hundred medical doctors in Bulgaria, and the hospital conditions were not that good at all.
Founded on 10th December 1883, the Varna Medical Society had a regular organizational life under the guidance of:
1. President Dr. Mihail (Miron) Vasilievich Ignatiev
2. Vice-President Dr. Angel Dimitrov Pyuskyuliev
3. Member-Secretary Dr. Zhelyaz (Zhelyu) Radev Gyokcherenliev
For the first seven months of 1884 only, there were 13 meetings, where interesting cases from the practice were reported, scientific papers were reviewed, current issues of the sanitary condition in the city and the country were dealt with. The number of the members of the Society had increased for a short time, and in 1885 they were already 25. A new Board of Directors was elected:
1. President Dr. Angel Dimitrov Pyuskyuliev
2. Vice-President Dr. Stoycho Yurdanov
3. Member-Secretary Dr. Yurdan Sevvov
Nine meetings were held. The members were Dr. Angel Dimitrov Pyuskyuliev, Dr. Batista Valenda, Dr. Boris Abramovich Oks, Dr. Vasilaki Papadopoulos, Dr. Vasilyev, Dr. Georgi Yanopoulos, Dr. Dileva, Dr. Dimitrov, Dr. Dimitar Galabov, Dr. Zhelyaz (Zhelyu) Radev Gyokcherenliev, Dr. Kutsodimitris, Dr. Mihail (Miron) Vasilievich Ignatiev, Dr. Stoycho Yurdanov, Dr. Yurdan Sevvov, the Mayor of Varna Mr. Mihail Koloni, who as an honorary member of the Society was one of its active associates.
Dr. Mihail (Miron) Vasilievich Ignatiev was the first President of the Society. He was born in a gentry family, in Suzdal (Russia) in 1853. In 1879 he graduated from the Imperial Medical and Surgical Academy in St. Petersburg with a doctoral degree "cum eximia laude".
While he was a student, he volunteered in the detachments of the Red Cross, and in 1877-1878 he took part in the military actions in the Russo-Turkish Liberation War and later in the fight against the plague epidemics in the province of Astrakhan. Gradually Dr. Ignatiev's interest in Bulgaria had been growing and after his graduation he came and lived in Bulgaria for almost five years, working in succession as a regional doctor in Dobrich, a senior doctor at the Varna First Class Hospital and district doctor in Balchik. Immediately after the outbreak of the Serbian-Bulgarian War he came back to Bulgaria as a part of the rendering medical aid Russian Red Cross Mission.
In 1891 Dr. Ignatiev passed an examination for the degree of Doctor of Medicine. The manifested by him interest in psychiatry, even at the time spent in Bulgaria, had not subside. On the contrary, it became the major medical field he was dedicated to. In 1902 he defended a dissertation thesis entitled „Игнатиев М. В. Изследование о душевнобольных по отчетам руских психиатрических заведений" (Ignatiev, M. V. Research on Mentally Ill People according to the Reports of Russian Psychiatric Institutions"). While working on it, Dr. Ignatiev received consultations from the famous Russian neurologist, psychiatrist, psychologist, morphologist, physiologist and public figure – Prof. Vladimir Mihailovich Behterev (1857-1927).
As a practitioner psychiatrist, Dr. Ignatiev went on to introduce new, more humane and more progressive methods of treatment for mentally ill people- methods, preserving their individual freedom. At the same time he remained true to his desire to summarize scientifically observed facts and phenomena. More than fifty of his published scientific and popular articles were found in the Central Medical Library in Moscow. He was also a pioneer in the development of the statistics on mental illness in Russia.
In 1906 Dr. Ignatiev was the first to appeal for the establishment of a fund for the development of the proposed by Prof. Behchev Institute for Research in Psychiatry and made the first contribution to this fund.
This reputable doctor and citizen died in 1909 or 1910. Unfortunately, little has been known about his tremendous contribution to the health care in Bulgaria, and he definitely deserves much greater public recognition.