Robert Douglas Hale M.D. M.R.C.S. L.S.A. (26 June 1816 – 2 November 1887) was a British orthodox physician, member of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, who converted to homeopathy to become a Physician at the Norwich Homeopathic Dispensary, Physician at the Hastings Homeopathic Dispensary, and Physician at the London Homeopathic Hospital. Hale was a Fellow, Vice-President, and member of the council of the British Homeopathic Society.
Robert Douglas Hale was a colleague of Edward Bach, Francis Henry Bodman, David Dyce Brown, George Henry Burford, H A Clifton Harris, John Moorhead Byres Moir, James Compton Burnett, John Henry Clarke, Arthur Crowden Clifton, Robert Thomas Cooper, Alex Richard Croucher, William Vallancy Drury, Robert Ellis Dudgeon, Washington Epps, John William Hayward, Richard Hughes, Edwin Awdas Neatby, Robert Snowdon, Charles Edwin Wheeler and many others.
Robert Douglas Hale was born in Dublin in 1816. He studied medicine there and in 1839 he was elected a member of the Royal College of Surgeons (England). In 1842 Hale received his Licentiate from the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries and in 1851 he obtained his M.D. from the University of St. Andrews.
In August, 1849, he married Tedlie Hutchison Bowdich (1820 – 1897), the eldest surviving daughter of botanist, author and African traveler Thomas Edward Bowdich (1791 – 1824). They had a son, Ernest Robert Hale, in 1858, when they were living at Grand Parade, St. Leonard’s on Sea, Hastings, who died shortly after birth. Their other children were Charles Douglas Bowdich Hale M.D. (1851 – 1922 ), Edward Matthew Hale (1852 – 1924), Mary Eugenia Hale (1853 – 1871 ), Florence Clementina Hale (1857 – 1935), (1858 – 1858), Arthur Robert Hale (1860 – 1929).
Hale entered into orthodox practice with Dr. John Whiting in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, but upon converting to homeopathy he ended his partnership and relocated to Norwich in 1851, where he succeeded Dr George James Hilbers, who had moved to Liverpool, and began practice as an homeopath.
An article in the Manchester Guardian on September 20, 1851, revealed the extent of the prejudice against homeopaths in Scotland, instigated by The Lancet journal. When the academic senate of the University of St. Andrews discovered Hale was practicing homeopathically in Norwich, they demanded that he return his recently awarded diploma, which he did not. However, he was forced to leave the town in the ensuing agitation.
Hale set up in practice in Brighton, where he remained for four years, before moving to St. Leonards-on-Sea, near Hastings.
In 1868, Hale moved to London where he joined the staff of the London Homeopathic Hospital until 1882, before relocating to Bournemouth owing to ill health. Shortly after he returned to Brighton, where he once again succeeded his friend, Dr George James Hilbers, who had died there in 1883.
In 1875 Hale was appointed by the British Homeopathic Society as one of three physicians, alongside Robert Ellis Dudgeon and Richard Hughes, to deliver a course of lectures at the London Homeopathic Hospital. Hale’s lecture topic was on “Practical Medicine.”
Throughout his career Robert Douglas Hale was an active participant in the homeopathic medical community, presenting and discussing papers at meetings of the British Homeopathic Society, and contributing articles to homeopathic publications.