[Medicine in Soviet gulags].
The origins of healthcare in gulags were associated with ideological paradigms. The fact that could support this hypothesis is that gulags were aimed at the physical destruction of enemies of the Bolshevik state and system. In this case, the economical aspect of healthcare was of a secondary importance. In every gulag, there was so called sanitary unit (sanchast) equipped with a barrack (called stationary), where a physician or surgeon's assistant (lepkom) worked with his staff. The physician was partially independent of the gulag authorities. He could release a certain number of prisoners from work, change a prisoner is health category, assign better food or admit a prisoner to the stationary barrack which commonly contained a few beds inside, to OP barrack (with better food) or to hospital. The physician also took part in so called medical committees which assigned various health categories to prisoners. Gulag hospitals included camp, regional and central hospitals. Their therapeutic profile depended on the commonest gulag diseases (there were surgical, tuberculosis, venereal, general and psychiatric profiled hospitals). The staff of gulag healthcare was recruited from among former and current prisoners. Their attitude to patients, as those who shared their misery, was usually very benevolent. Despite the permanent lack of pharmaceuticals, equipment and the primitive life conditions, a prisoner admitted for stationary therapy usually lay in a normal bed, with clean bed-clothes, received better food, all created of which on illusion of well-being and gave some hope for survival.