The War medical school of San Giorgio da Nogaro

The “War Medical School” of San Giorgio di Nogaro is an interesting piece in the history of military medicine. This institution, that will later be called Università Castrense, taking the words used in 1916 by Piero Giacosa, will become a real section of the University of Padua, delegated to its organization and management by the War Ministry between 1916 and 1917.

Una lezione di Clinica chirurgica tenuta dal professor Tusini, ASUC

The creation of a field school can be explained by the need to make up for the shortage of medical staff at the front. It is structured into a series of accelerated courses, to be held within a few months, to prepare students of medicine and surgery of the V and VI year at the front for the medical profession. In addition to the subjects covered by the usual programmes, there are some relevant innovations: Surgical clinic, War traumatology, Limb prosthesis, in addition to healthcare logistics courses.

The School is set up at the hospital center of the Third Army in San Giorgio di Nogaro, based on the intuition of Giuseppe Tusini, who will be its director. The lessons occupied 47 hours of compulsory attendance per week, in addition to practical exercises and hospital services.

Mappa del campus universitario di San Giorgio di Nogaro (Tusini 1918)

Among the different structures located in San Giorgio di Nogaro, articulated like an university campus, there are classrooms, a study room, a library, a canteen and some dormitories, obtained in pre-existing spaces or in environments built from scratch. It is significative the creation, inside the complex, of a small Anatomical museum of war traumatology, established by the professor of Pahologic anatomy Antonio Dionisi, with the collaboration of Gherardo Forni, who will then become the museum manager. The facility was considered a scientific documentation tool of "war finds" and a useful support for Castrense students.

Interno del Museo anatomico di traumatologia di guerra (Tusini 1918)

By Lieutenancy Decree No. 1678 of November 26, 1916, the University of Padua is deputed to manage the Castrense University; as a result, all students from the various universities of the Kingdom of Italy, gathered in the so-called Battaglione Universitario, are ex officio enrolled at the University of Padua to take the course for "aspiring medical officers."