Two bullets to the head and an early winter: Fate permits Kutuzov to defeat Napoleon at Moscow

Sergiy V. Kushchayev, Evgenii Belykh, Yakiv Fishchenko, Aliaksei Salei, Oleg M. Teytelboym, Leonid Shabaturov, Markus Cruse, Mark C. Preul

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    1 Citation (Scopus)

    Abstract

    General Mikhail Kutuzov (circa 1745-1813) brilliantly repelled Napoleon's invasion of Russia. Honored as a national hero and a savior of Russia, Kutuzov has a unique medical story. He was shot in the head twice while fighting the Turks (1774 and 1788) and survived the serious injuries seemingly against all odds. The first bullet "ran through the head from one temple to the other behind both eyes." The second bullet entered the cheek, destroyed upper teeth, traveled through the head, and exited the occiput. Massot, a French surgeon with the Russian army, wrote after treating Kutuzov's seemingly two mortal wounds: "It must be believed that fate appoints Kutuzov to something great, because he was still alive after two injuries, a death sentence by all the rules of medical science." Aided by Massot's expert surgical technique, Kutuzov lived to become intimately engaged in events that altered world history. His health did, however, suffer significant effects due to the bullet wounds. In 1812, as Napoleon's Grande Armée approached, Kutuzov realized he could not confront Napoleon and he strategically retreated from Moscow, submitting the French to the harsh winter and Russian cavalry. Napoleon's devastated army retreated to Paris, and Kutuzov became the personification of Russian spirit and character. Kutuzov's survival of two nearly mortal head wounds created the legends, additional mystery, and drama surrounding him, not the least astonishing of which was the skilled neurosurgical care that probably saved his life.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article numberE3
    JournalNeurosurgical Focus
    Volume39
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2015

    Fingerprint

    Moscow
    Head
    Wounds and Injuries
    Russia
    Drama
    Cheek
    Paris
    Tooth
    History
    Health

    Keywords

    • Gunshot wound
    • Head injury
    • History of neurosurgery
    • Massot
    • Mikhail kutuzov
    • Napoleon bonaparte
    • Neurological trauma
    • War of 1812

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Surgery
    • Clinical Neurology

    Cite this

    Kushchayev, S. V., Belykh, E., Fishchenko, Y., Salei, A., Teytelboym, O. M., Shabaturov, L., ... Preul, M. C. (2015). Two bullets to the head and an early winter: Fate permits Kutuzov to defeat Napoleon at Moscow. Neurosurgical Focus, 39(1), [E3]. https://doi.org/10.3171/2015.3.FOCUS1596

    Two bullets to the head and an early winter : Fate permits Kutuzov to defeat Napoleon at Moscow. / Kushchayev, Sergiy V.; Belykh, Evgenii; Fishchenko, Yakiv; Salei, Aliaksei; Teytelboym, Oleg M.; Shabaturov, Leonid; Cruse, Markus; Preul, Mark C.

    In: Neurosurgical Focus, Vol. 39, No. 1, E3, 2015.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Kushchayev, SV, Belykh, E, Fishchenko, Y, Salei, A, Teytelboym, OM, Shabaturov, L, Cruse, M & Preul, MC 2015, 'Two bullets to the head and an early winter: Fate permits Kutuzov to defeat Napoleon at Moscow' Neurosurgical Focus, vol. 39, no. 1, E3. https://doi.org/10.3171/2015.3.FOCUS1596
    Kushchayev SV, Belykh E, Fishchenko Y, Salei A, Teytelboym OM, Shabaturov L et al. Two bullets to the head and an early winter: Fate permits Kutuzov to defeat Napoleon at Moscow. Neurosurgical Focus. 2015;39(1). E3. https://doi.org/10.3171/2015.3.FOCUS1596
    Kushchayev, Sergiy V. ; Belykh, Evgenii ; Fishchenko, Yakiv ; Salei, Aliaksei ; Teytelboym, Oleg M. ; Shabaturov, Leonid ; Cruse, Markus ; Preul, Mark C. / Two bullets to the head and an early winter : Fate permits Kutuzov to defeat Napoleon at Moscow. In: Neurosurgical Focus. 2015 ; Vol. 39, No. 1.
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