John Stuart Sutherland M.D. L.R.C.S.E. (24 January 1812 – 2 December 1891) was a British orthodox physician and surgeon who converted to homeopathy to become a founding member and Vice President of the Midland Homeopathic Medical Society, a member of the Hahnemann Society, a member of The Northern Homeopathic Medical Association, and Physician at the Leamington Homeopathic Dispensary and Edinburgh Homeopathic Dispensary.

Sutherland worked alongside, and was later succeeded as Medical Officer to the Leamington Dispensary by, Dr. Charles Phillips Collins. Another colleague of Sutherland’s was Rugby-based homeopathic surgeon William Sharp, who Sutherland consulted in 1851.

John Stuart Sutherland practiced in Leamington at 17 York Terrace and 10 Euston Place, and in Edinburgh at 1 Carlton Street, Edinburgh, at Oakleigh Cottage, Wardie, and in retirement resided at 25 Inverleith Row, Edinburgh.

John Stuart Sutherland was born in on 24 January 1812.

In 1834, Sutherland obtained his License from the Edinburgh Royal College of Surgeons. The same year he joined the Indian Medical Service as Assistant Surgeon with the Bengal Presidency, serving in Calcutta and Cawnpore, among other posts.

Whilst serving with the Honourable East India Company, in 1838 Sutherland was awarded his M.D. from the University of St Andrews.

In 1839, Sutherland married Fife-born Jessie Lander Farnie (c. 1811 – 1891).

In 1843, as Assistant Surgeon to the 10th Native Infantry, he was recorded as being on furlough in England. Three years later, in July 1846, Sutherland retired from the East India Company and returned to Britain, settling in Leamington by 1850.

Shortly after arriving in England, in either 1846 or 1847, Sutherland was recuperating in Brighton from ill-health when he happened to meet homeopath Dr. Henry Madden. It appears that this chance encounter was the catalyst for Sutherland’s embrace of homeopathy and, in 1850, he dedicated his book Health, Disease and Homoeopathic Treatment Rationally Considered, to Madden.

In October 1848, Sutherland was one of the team of physicians at the Edinburgh Homeopathic Dispensary who worked round the clock to treat hundreds of sufferers during a major cholera outbreak in the city. A Report of the events was published by the Dispensary, and records Sutherland as one of the staff members involved:

Whenever the existence of Asiatic Cholera in Edinburgh – an event, as appears from your Minutes anticipated by you since the 13th November last – had been officially announced, it seemed to your Committee that the time was come for them to use the most prompt and efficient means in their power, at least to alleviate if they might not stay that terrible disease.

With this view a meeting of your Committee was held on the 7th October current, when it was resolved, after conference with your Medical Officers, the ordinary physicians of the Dispensary, who generously undertook the very severe duties which the arrangement imposed on them, that the Dispensary should be kept open, and one of the Medical Officers should be in attendance, at all hours, day and night, during the prevalence of Cholera in Edinburgh.

It is here to be mentioned that the ordinary physicians, John Rutherford Russell, The Wielobycki Brothers, Dr. Lyschinski, and John Stuart Sutherland, all graduates of our University, have been kindly assisted in these duties by George Atkin, of Portobello, who has a similar Degree, and Samuel Cockburn, a Licentiate of the College of Surgeons of Edinburgh; and when it is considered that the services of these gentlemen are perfectly gratuitous, your Committee feel sure you will accord them your warmest thanks.

In 1852, John Stuart Sutherland signed the petition drawn up by John Rutherford Russell in support of Edinburgh Graduates who had converted to homeopathy, after Alfred Crosby Pope was refused his Doctorate due to his homeopathic conversion. That same year Sutherland was one of the attendees of the Homeopathic Congress held in Edinburgh.

In 1858, Sutherland succeeded fellow homeopathic physician John Rutherford Russell, who had retired as Medical Officer at the Leamington Dispensary for the Homoeopathic Treatment of Chronic Diseases at 8 Portland Place.

On the evening of Thursday 15 June, 1865, J. S. Sutherland was one of a group of medical men who met at the Stork Hotel in Birmingham to form a new association, the Midland Homoeopathic Medical Society. Sutherland was elected a member of the committee tasked with drawing up the rules of the new society, along with William Sharp, George Moore, John Hitchman, James Gibbs Blake, James Smith Ayerst, Henry Robertson, and Edward Wynne Thomas. He would remain a committee member, and later served as Vice President of the Society.

Such was the esteem with which he was held that also in June 1865, the friends of John Stuart Sutherland gathered together for a testimonial on the occasion of his retirement as Physician to the Leamington Dispensary. He was presented with a gold watch, chain and medallion. In thanking his colleagues and patients, Sutherland assured them that he would continue as Consulting Physician to the Dispensary, and a Committee Member and subscriber.

In 1866, Sutherland co-authored an article, “A Case of Fever Treated Homeopathically and Hydropathically” with Leamington surgeon and hydropath, John Hitchman, who had converted to homeopathy the previous year.

Sutherland also submitted cases and articles to various homeopathic journals and other publications, including “Remarks upon a Variety of Opium Grown Among the Lower Ranges of the Himalas” in the 1846 Northern Journal of Medicine, and “Diagnostic and Therapeutic Remarks on Renal Elimination” in Braithwaite’s 1851 Retrospect of Practical Medicine and Surgery.

By 1871, Sutherland had retired from private practice and relocated to Edinburgh where he and his wife resided at 17 Brunswick Street, although he remained as Consulting Physician to the Leamington Dispensary.

John Stuart Sutherland’s wife, Jessie, died in August 1891. Four months later, on 2 December 1891, Sutherland passed away at their home, 25 Inverleith Row. He was laid to rest alongside Jessie in Edinburgh’s Warriston Cemetery.

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Of interest:

John Sutherland (1808 – 1891) [no evident relation] was a physician and promoter of sanitary science, and life long friend of Florence Nightingale.