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Dr. Mirko Černič and the 90th Anniversary of the Opening of the Sanatorium in Maribor

Head physician Dr. Mirko Černič established himself in the world of medicine as a physician, organizer, scientist, professor and a publicist. His greatest achievement, though, was the first purposely built sanatorium in Maribor, whose construction he himself planned and financed. Ninety years have passed since the opening of the sanatorium.

Cover of the advertising brochure of the Sanatorium in Maribor.

Cover of the advertising brochure of the Sanatorium in Maribor. SI AS 229/P, Ministrstvo za ljudsko zdravstvo LRS, serija Personalni spisi, box 17/P. | Author Arhiv Republike Slovenije

Dr. Mirko Černič and the 90th Anniversary of the Opening of the Sanatorium in Maribor

Mirko Černič was born on April 29, 1884 in Metlika. After finishing his primary school, he attended the grammar school in Novo mesto, completing the last two years of grammar school in Ljubljana, where he graduated in 1905. He studied at the medical faculty in Graz and later in Vienna and was in 1911 granted the title of doctor of all medicine. His biography, preserved in his personal file, offers an insight into his career path; he worked as a ward doctor at the hospital for women in Novo mesto, he was a volunteer at the military hospitals in Ljubljana and Trieste, a surgical intern at the surgical university clinic of Professor Hochenegg in Vienna, he was active in the military service of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, a doctor – volunteer in the Serbo-Bulgarian army, and was since July 1919 working as the head physician at the surgical department of the General Hospital in Maribor. Until 1928 he was also an obstetrician and a gynaecologist. Dr. Černič was doing his share wherever Slovenian identity was threatened and was also among the initiators of the Slovenian University in Ljubljana and a pioneer of the Slovenian medical terminology. The author of a number of scientific and popular articles and manuals, he described his life's journey in his 1954 memoir Doživljaji in doživetja.   

Already during his work in Maribor, Dr. Černič felt the need to offer his patients a quality surgical care, since up until then most of the patients who were looking for a more personal approach were forced to seek treatment in Austria. For this purpose he purchased a building plot of land on Gosposka Street, a stone's throw from the Classical Grammar School (today's Faculty of Law of the University of Maribor), where in 1929 he built a sanatorium. He started the construction using his own funds, but when the money ran out, he was only able to continue by taking out a bank loan and obtaining municipality's guarantee. Fully aware that such a sanatorium would be a great asset for Maribor, the municipal administration allowed 80 percent guarantee for his construction loan.

The sanatorium was constructed according to Černič’s own ideas and officially opened its door on January 8, 1930. From architectural point of view, the building was a novelty for the city of Maribor, since instead of a regular roof top there was a terrace for »air and sun baths«. The terrace had its own water supply and shower, which enabled all sorts of outdoor water treatments. The sanatorium was also surrounded by its own extensive park. The building itself had modern equipment, with central heating, hot running water and a telephone in each room. Food was delivered from the kitchen by means of a service lift. An interesting new feature was also an electric automatic fridge – the American Frigidaire - the first and the only of its kind in Maribor, which ensured the integrity of the food served. On the ground floor there were seven hospital beds, a waiting room, consulting room, operating room, room for radiation treatment, a bathroom and other auxiliary rooms. In the basement there were rooms for the staff, boiler room, laundry room, room with laundry sterilizer and basement space. The first floor was occupied by the owner's apartment, kitchen and terrace.

The surgeons operating at the sanatorium came from Maribor, Ljubljana and Graz and the patients were able to choose their own surgeon. To be admitted to the sanatorium the clients had to make an appointment with the owner Dr. Černič, either in person or in writing and by telephone.

Due to the economic crisis, Dr. Černič was in 1932 forced to temporary close down his sanatorium and work as the head of the surgical department of the Ljubljana General Hospital. Upon his return to Maribor (May 1933), Dr. Černič once again opened his sanatorium, which stayed in operation until the start of the Second World War.

Dr. Černič and his family were among the first Slovenians to be deported to Serbia by the Germans. In 1942, he managed to come back to Lower Carniola, where he joined the resistance movement and also became the head of the partisan hospital Kanižarica near Črnomelj. In 1945 he returned to Maribor and in 1946 he became the professor of medical terminology at the Medical Faculty in Ljubljana. Two years later he retired and stopped lecturing. That same year his sanatorium was nationalized and as compensation he was offered a house at the foothills of Kalvarija. After its reorganization in 1949, the sanatorium became a home to a clinic for tuberculosis treatment, which in 1958 became part of the Dr. Adolf Drolc Health Centre in Maribor. After the health centre had moved out, the building was in 2009 sold to the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Maribor.

Having retired, Dr. Mirko Černič lived in Maribor, where he died on July 27, 1956.

Jasmina Kogovšek