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Srp Arh Celok Lek. 2012 Jul-Aug;140(7-8):537-42.

[Dr. Elizabeth Ross: heroine and victim of the World War I in Serbia].

[Article in Serbian]


At the beginning of 1915, several months after the World War I started, Serbia was in an extremely difficult situation.The country was war-ravaged, full of sick and wounded soldiers, there was a desperate shortage of doctors, nurses and other medical personnel, and the epidemic of typhus fever exploded and violently attacked the entire country. At that time, however, a number of both foreign allied medical missions and individual volunteers, from various countries, mostly from Great Britain, came to Serbia to help. Among them mostly were women, and they were of enormous support to Serbia in that grave situation. It is estimated that there were more than 600 foreign women volunteers in Serbia at that time and that 22 of them died there. Dr. Elizabeth Ross was one of those brave volunteers who came to Serbia early in 1915. That noble Scottish lady doctor was born in 1878 and finished her medical studies at the University of Glasgow in 1901. After graduation she worked in various places in Great Britain until 1909, when she went to Persia (Iran), where she worked until the beginning of the so called Great War. When she heard of the urgent need in Serbia she left Persia as soon as she could and volunteered to serve in Serbia. She came to Kragujevac at the beginning of January 1915, where she worked at the First Military Reserve Hospital, which at that time was actually a typhus hospital. Working there intensively and devotedly for several weeks under shocking conditions she contracted typhus herself and died there on her 37th birthday on February 14th, 1915. She was buried in Kragujevac, next to two British ladies who also died in Serbia of typhus. Her grave was restored in 1980 when the town of Kragujevac started holding commemorations at the graveside every February 14th at noon to honor her and all other brave and noble women who lost their lives helping Serbia at that unfortunate time.

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