John Hughes Bennett (1812-1875)
Key contributions to medicine:
Published the first case of Leukaemia (1845)
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 ninteenth century.
Advocated the use of cod-liver oil and restorative treatments for
tuberculosis and other debilatating deseases.
Emphasised the need for collaboration between medical and scientific
specialities in order to advance modern medicine
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.
1871-73 Published simultaneously in Edinburgh and America Textbook of Physiology, also translated into French.
1872-73 Recuperated in South of France following ill health.
1873 Elected a member of the French Academy of Medicine and granted recognition by the French government to practice medicine in France.
1874 Reported on Researches into the Antagonism of Medicines to BMA and published the following year. Resigned as Professor of the Institutes of Medicine through ill health.
1875 Honoured by University of Edinburgh with degree of LL.D to the acclaim of many of his former students. Died 25th September at Norwich nine days after surgery to remove a stone by lateral lithotomy. Buried in Edinburgh's Dean Cemetery.
1901 Opening of John Hughes Bennett Laboratory of Experimental Pathology, given to the University of Edinburgh by his daughter, Mrs Cox, in his memory, presided over by the Vice-Chancellor, Sir William Muir. A distinguished ex-student of Bennett, Sir John Burdon-Sanderson, Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford, gave the address in the presence of 'a goodly and distinguished com-pany of professors, teachers and physiologists from the United Kingdom' to pay homage to 'one of that galaxy of talent and genius that illuminated Edinburgh in the middle decades of the last century'.