John Hughes Bennett, M.D. (1812-1875)
View a book in this collection by Dr. Bennett
John Hughes Bennett, as depicted in the adjacent portraits, was considered a man of high intellect and an outstanding teacher, whose methods served as a model to other teaching institutions beyond Edinburgh. He has been described as the founder of physiology because he introduced the teaching of physiology by practical classes and number of advances in physiology in Scotland can be attributed directly to him. His obituarist wrote in the British Medical Journal, "When all the controversies with which his name is associated will have been forgotten, the important services which he rendered to practical medicine will be even more highly appreciated than they are at present."
Key contributions to medicine:
Published the first case of Leukaemia (1845) "It is moreover the same conclusion which Bennett came to in the much discussed matter of priority between us when he observed a case of individual leukaemia some months before I saw my first case." Rudolf Virchow (1858) Introduced practical experimental histology and the use of the microscope for the diagnosis of disease into the scottish medical curriculum.
Opposed bloodletting and the indiscriminate use of drugs and was an important influence in changing British therapeutic practices during the second half of the nineteenth century.
Advocated the use of cod-liver oil and restorative treatments for tuberculosis and other debilitating diseases. "John Hughes Bennett's contribution to tuberculosis were many. He was responsible for saving many patients from the rigors associated with the antiphlogistic therapeutic regimen. He recognized that tuberculosis disease could cure spontaneously. His observations and his attempts to achieve cures were to set the scene for later interventions which were also to originate in Edinburgh" A G Leitch (1995)
Emphasized the need for collaboration between medical and scientific specialties in order to advance modern medicine
". . . in the struggle between advancing science, and a routine practice, those who desire the welfare of the profession should never forget that it can only be maintained by an earnest love of truth. This is to be promoted not by vague assertion and vulgar douse but by rational investigation and sound agreement" John Hughes Bennett
John Hughes Bennett (1812-1875)
1812 31st August, born and educated in Exeter, England.
1829 Apprenticed to a surgeon in Maidstone, Kent.
1833 Enrolled at University of Edinburgh to read medicine.
1836 Elected as President of the Royal Medical Society and of the Royal Physical Society of Edinburgh and Vice-President of the Anatomical and Physiological Society. Published first article in London Medical Gazette On the Anatomy and Physiology of the Otic Ganglion.
1837 Graduated MD with highest honours and gold medal. Dissertation on The Physiology and Pathology of the Brain. Began 2 year's of postgraduate studies in Paris. Founder and first president of the English-speaking Medical Society in Paris.
1838-1841 Attended medical schools and hospitals in Germany.
1841 Returned to Edinburgh. Extra-academical lecturer on histology, physiology, pathology and the diagnosis of disease illustrated by the microscope. The first to teach the clinical use of the microscope systemically and the practical teaching of physiology and pathology in Britain. Published Treatise on Cod Liver Oil, reintroducing it as an important therapeutic agent.
1842 Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
1843 Appointed Pathologist and Keeper of Statistics, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. Physician to the Royal Dispensary and to the Fever Hospital.
1844 Married Jessie Samuel at Kirknewton.
1845 Lecturer in medicine at University of Edinburgh Medical School. Published On the Frequent Spontaneous Cure of Pulmonary Consumption and its Treatment and Case of Hypertrophy of the Spleen and Liver in which Death took place from Suppuration of the Blood, the first recorded case of leukaemia, then known as leucocythaemia, in the Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal.
1846 Editor and later proprietor of the Monthly Journal of Medical Science.
1848 Elected to the chair of the Institutes of Medicine and clinical teacher of medicine as professor within the University of Edinburgh.
1851 Published On Leucocythaemia or White Cell Blood, a collection of case studies. Founder and President of the Physiological Society of Edinburgh.
1853 Published On the Pathology and Treatment of Pulmonary Tuberculosis.
1855 Unsuccessful candidate for the chair of the Practice of Physic.
1856 Published Clinical Lectures on the Principles and Practice of Medicine, an authoritative textbook in 5 editions in Britain and 6 in America to 1868.
1857 Challenge to the practice of blood letting.
1858 Appointed by the Senate of Edinburgh University as their envoy to Parliament on the Universities (Scotland) Bill.
1866 Published The Restorative Treatment of Pneumonia which had the rare distinction of being translated and published in Japan.
1869 Supported the admission of women medical students in Edinburgh.
From: The University of Edinburgh - Leukaemia Research Fund
John Hughes Bennett Laboratory
(The personal edited research notes of Michael Echols, the source of which may or may not be completely documented)
Contact Dr. Arbittier or Dr. Echols
Last update: Monday, December 12, 2016