Back in 1932, when Norilsk was not even a village, the wife of geologist Alexander Vorontsov, Sofya, gave birth to a daughter Irina on this land, she is considered the first native Norilsk woman.
The Norilsk maternity hospital helped to give birth to an entire city – more than 220 thousand babies. Annually, on average, from one and a half (during the years of Perestroika) to five thousand (during the Soviet heyday of Norilsk) children were born there. It is a known fact that people came to the city to give birth to their children not only from Taimyr, but also from the mainland: the Norilsk doctors and midwives had an impeccable reputation.
The maternity hospital has its unofficial countdown since the pre-war years: the first maternity hospital in Norilsk was opened in 1939 in a barrack at the Zero Point. Then the first obstetrician-gynecologist Klavdia Samoilova arrived in Norilsk, it was she who made sure that the women in labor were given a separate building: before that, pregnant women lay in a common barrack, often together with infectious patients.
According to historical information, on March 8, 1945, the head physician of the Norilsk hospital, Rodionova, in a report to the head of the combine Panyukov, complained that the structure the temporary maternity hospital promised to have been built by May 1 had not even been laid.
“The paper, apparently, worked – in 1946 the first two-story maternity hospital with 60 beds was opened, it worked for the next 22 years”, journalist of the city newspaper Svetlana Gunina writes.
Throughout its history, the Norilsk maternity hospital has remained the only maternity hospital on the territory of the Norilsk industrial district.
Among the first chief doctors of the maternity hospital was Revecka Kogan, she worked in Norilsk medicine since 1957 for almost 20 years, most of which heading the maternity hospital.
“I lived two kilometers from the hospital”, Revecka Kogan wrote in her memoirs for the 60th anniversary of the maternity hospital. “To get to me, you had to go through a vacant lot (now a park), where the depth of the snow reached two or three meters. I didn’t have a phone, they sent messengers to me almost every night. So that night, the watchwoman, Anya, very big and tall, came for me, with an ax in her bosom (later, with the same weapon, my husband always accompanied me). When I reached the place in the morning, I found a corpse. Here for the first time in my life I smoked a cigarette”.
The incident was immediately reported to the combine’s head, Zverev. A day later, Revecka Kogan and the chief physician of the maternity hospital, Claudia Samoilova, were summoned to Zverev.
“It is difficult to convey the situation in words”, Revecka Borisovna continues her story. “In a huge long office sat 13 angry men with gold shoulder straps. Warned that it is impossible to contradict in any case, I decided to keep silent. But after hearing Zverev’s accusation: “You are killers”, I could not resist: “We, everyone sitting here, are killers, and you are the main killer. You built baths with marble benches and saunas, but most important things – to provide medical institutions with the necessities to save people’s lives – you have not bothered to do…” Zverev jumped up to me, began to scream wildly, threatening to expel me from the town within 24 hours. But I managed to tell him everything I thought.
Returning home, I found that a telephone was already installed in our apartment”.
After Klavdia Samoilova and Revecka Kogan, the famous Vyacheslav Vakharev was the head physician of the institution, each leader remained a landmark in history, a kind of era. Since 1989, the obstetric care service was headed by Tatyana Lastochkina, a doctor – obstetrician-gynecologist of the highest qualification, Honored Doctor of the Russian Federation. Lastochkina was awarded the medal of St. Sergius of Radonezh, and in 2005 the head physician of the Norilsk maternity hospital was included in The Best People of Russia list of personalities of the All-Russian encyclopedia’s 5th anniversary edition.
Under Lastochkina, the maternity hospital received the status of a Child-friendly hospital (the title of UNESEF), there was a rapid development in all directions, including a school of spiritual obstetrics and joint childbirth. For almost two decades, a chapel was opened at the maternity hospital in honor of the first Russian saint, who is considered the heavenly patroness of motherhood, the Equal-to-the-Apostles Princess Olga.
In 2009, the staff of the maternity hospital was included in the All-Russian Book of Honor federal register. In 2010, the maternity hospital entered the top twenty best maternity hospitals in the country. At the same time, two employees of the institution became laureates of the Crystal Test Tube national award.
The perinatal center, built in October 2018 with the latest technology, has become the successor to the maternity hospital.
The staff of the perinatal center fondly remember their maternity hospital years. On the day of the 75th anniversary, they congratulated the old specialists of the institution and those who remain faithful to the best traditions of the Norilsk healthcare.
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Text: Marina Horoshevskaya, Photo: open sources