Joseph Hands MRCS [1831] LSA [1830] (1804 – 17 April 1886) was a British orthodox surgeon who converted to homeopathy, to become a member of the Medical Council of the Hahnemann Hospital at 39 Bloomsbury Square and a member of the Hahnemann Medical Society.

Joseph Hands practiced at 80 Grove, Hammersmith and 23 Duke Street in Grosvenor Square.

Joseph Hands was born in Berkeley, Gloucestershire, in 1804. He was awarded his Licentiate from the Society of Apothecaries in 1830, and the following year qualified as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons (England).

Hands was a pupil of immunologist and vaccine pioneer Edward Jenner. Towards the end of his career Hands published a small pamphlet on vaccination, Smallpox Prevention, that was recommended in the British Journal of Homeopathy, edited by Robert Ellis Dudgeon and Richard Hughes.

In July 1837 Hands married Trinidad-born Eliza Cumming (c.1820 – c.1899).

Hands was a surgeon at the Hahnemann Hospital, established in October 1850, at 39 Bloomsbury Square. He was also a member of the hospital medical council. Among his colleagues were John Anderson, James Chapman, Edward Charles Chepmell, Paul Francois Curie, Robert Ellis Dudgeon, Thomas Engall, Amos Henriques, Robert Hamilton, Charles Hunt, Henry Kelsall, Joseph Laurie, Henry Victor Malan, James John Garth Wilkinson, David Wilson, George Wyld, William Leaf, Christian Karl Josias Bunsen, Thomas Egerton 2nd Earl of Wilton, Robert Grosvenor, Thomas Roupell Everest, Charles Powell Leslie, James More Molyneux, William Henry Ashurst, William Thomas Berger, W. A. Case, J. M. Douglas, G. H. Flatcher, John Fowler, Joseph Glover, Sydney Hanson, Thomas Higgs, T. H. Johnstone, John Miller, Chas Pasley, Mathias Roth, Frederick Sandoz, W Stephenson, Samuel Sugden, Allan Templeton, Major Charles William Tyndale, William Warne, A Wilkinson, S Wilson and many others.

In early 1852, Hands was one of a small group of physicians at the Hahnemann Hospital, including John Chapman, Edward Charles Chepmell, and David Wilson, who resigned in protest over what they considered the Board of Management’s abandonment of the principles of medical equality upon which the hospital had been founded.

Later in his career Joseph Hands examined complimentary medical practices, including hydrotherapy, electro-magnetism, and dietetics, alongside homeopathy and in contrast to orthodox medicine. He devoted much of his concluding years to writing and published on a wide range of subjects, such as a disquisition on beauty and an ambitious, esoteric treatise on free will, animal magnetism and fascination, Will-Ability; Or, Mind and Its Varied Conditions and Capacities.

Select Publications:

Of interest:

Decimus Hands MRCS England [1835], LSA London [1836] (1805 – 1872), brother of Joseph Hands, was also an homoeopathic surgeon. He practiced at 9 Dorset Square and also at his home at Moss Villa, 5 New Finchley Road. He was a member of the Hahnemann Medical Society.

Decimus Hands was a close friend of James John Garth Wilkinson, and in 1861, they travelled together to Spain with Sir James Outram, 1st Baronet (1803 – 1863).