Napoleon’s Surgeon

The life of Dominique Larrey is so rich of heroic tales and acts of humanity that it could easily inspire a novel or a movie script.

He was without a doubt the greatest military surgeon of all times and I confess my surgical hero!


While he was a teenager he became an orphan and was raised by an uncle, who introduced him to the profession of surgery.
Soon after Larrey started his surgical journey that led him to become Chief of Surgery of the Grande Armee’ and to participate with Napoleon in many military campaigns.

il-medico-di-napoleone-LarreyReckless of danger and only interested in saving as may human lives as possible, he risked his own countless times in the battle fields.

Loved by the french soldiers and respected by the enemies he was described by the Emperor as “the most virtuous man I have ever met”. Larrey not only treated the french soldiers but also the injured of opposing armies!

He invented the field ambulance that was used in battle to rescue and attend hundreds of soldiers that otherwise would have died of blood loss or left abandoned.

Larrey organised this crucial service during the italian campaign in 1979, when Napoleon enrolled him in his Army.

Following the french defeat at Waterloo, Larrey was injured, captured by Prussian soldiers and sentenced to immediate death by their General. Just before the execution he was recognised by a Prussian colleague who convinced the General to free the french.

Dominique Larrey is remembered in the Arc of Triumph in Paris