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Werner Zoege von Manteuffel

Born  1857
Died  1926

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Estonian surgeon, born July 1, 1857, Mayris (or Määri) manor; died March 14, 1926, Reval.

Biography of Werner Zoege von Manteuffel

Werner Zoege von Manteuffel studied in Dorpat (now Tartu), where he obtained his doctorate in 1886. From 1886 to 1890 he was an assistant in the surgical clinic in Dorpat under Wahl, and in 1889 he was habilitated as a lecturer in surgery. He became professor extraordinary in 1899 and in 1905 he was appointed full professor. In 1918 he retired and settled in Reval, where he died in 1926. Zoege von Manteuffel established a major school of surgery and published a large number of surgical works. He contributed to Enzyklopädie der Chirurgie by Emil Theodor Kocher (1841-1917) and Fritz de Quervain (1868-1940), published in two volumes in Jena 1901-1903.

Despite his German descent, Zoege von Manteuffel was life physician to the Russian czar Nikolai II. During the Estonian war of liberation 1918-1920 he was active as a field physician, for which he received the Cross of Freedom.

He became known for his works on angiosclerotic gangrene and for being the first to use rubber gloves that could be effectively sterilized. To wear boiled rubber gloves, he used to say, was to have "boiled hands." He published on this in an article that appeared in 1897. At that time most surgeons were operating with their bare hands. In Tartu he is also remembered for having erected himself a monument in the form of the Devil's bridge.

Werner Zoege von Manteuffel was born in 1857 in northern Estonia and became professor of surgery at Tartu University, Estonia, in 1899. He was the first surgeon to advocate the use of boiled, sterilised rubber gloves to protect the patient from infection during surgery and published the first paper on sterilised rubber surgical gloves in 1897. , although some had experimented with silk or cotton gloves, which proved impossible to sterilise. To wear boiled rubber gloves, he said, was to have "boiled hands."

We thank Andre Trombeta for information submitted.


  • Volvolus cocci. (Volkmanns) Sammlung klinischer Vorträge, Leipzig, 1899.
  • Über angiosclerotische Gangrän.
    Archiv für klinische Chirurgie, Berlin, 1891, 42: 569-574.
  • Über die Ursachen des Gefässverschlusses bei Gangrän.
    Deutsche Zeitschrift für Chirurgie, Leipzig, 1898, 47: 463-475.
  • A. von Kügelgen:
    W. Zoege von Manteuffel. Ein lebensbild.
    Schriften des Deutschen Auslandsdients, Reihe 3, Bd. 4. Stuttgart, 1931.
  • Isidor Fischer, publisher:
    Biographisches Lexikon der hervorragenden Ärzte der letzten fünfzig Jahre.
    Berlin – Wien, Urban & Schwarzenberg, 1932. Page 1717.

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