Thomas Vernon Bell M.D. (1824 – 3 September 1905) was an orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy to become a member of the British Homeopathic Society, and a member of the Medical Council of the London Homeopathic Hospital.
Bell was a colleague of Rocco Rubini and in 1865 gave personal testimony to the efficacy of his homeopathic cures of cholera
Thomas Vernon Bell was born in Langholm, Dumfriesshire, Scotland in 1824, the son of Andrew Hotson Bell (1804 – 1844) and Jane Murray (1800 – 1890).
He pursued medicine and in 1853 received his License from the Edinburgh Royal College of Surgeons. Five years later, in 1858, Bell obtained his M.D. from the University of Edinburgh. He later became a member of the general council of the University.
It is unclear when and how Bell became an homeopath but in 1854 he was elected a member of the British Homeopathic Society and remained a member of the Society long after his retirement from practice.
Bell practiced at 17 William Street, Lowndes Square, London.
In July 1856, Thomas Vernon Bell married Marianne Witherington Fernie (c. 1816 – 1884). She died in Florence, Italy in April, 1884.
In 1858, Bell was joined in consultation by an allopath, Dr. Fergusson, much to the consternation of The Lancet editor and contributors. The same story was featured in the Medical Times and Gazette, which revealed that Bell’s orthodox colleague Fergusson had also cooperated with Frederick Foster Hervey Quin in treating the Duke of Beaufort.
In August, 1891, Vernon Bell remarried, Constance Louisa Collins-Wood (c. 1855 – 1907). Bell relocated to St. Leonard’s-on-Sea and in 1892 was successfully treated for a life-threatening condition at the Buchanan Homeopathic Hospital.
In 1896, Bell was invited to serve as Chair at the Buchanan hospital’s sixteenth annual general meeting. There he explained that while adhering to Hahnemann‘s law of similars, as a physician he utilized all curative tools at his disposal, homeopathic or allopathic, in treating his patients:
I believe in the doctrine of similars, it is true, but I believe in much more. I have never hesitated in combating disease to employ any and all methods that promised the quickest, safest, and most pleasant restoration of the sufferer to health. The party shibboleths of homeopath and allopath have consequently never been congenial to nature like mine. I am a physician, an eclectic, or even a medical Bohomian, if you will; but yet a physician who exercises and trusts his own judgement, and who reserves for himself liberty to resort to any means to heal.
Thomas Vernon Bell died at his home in Sussex Square, Brighton, on 3 September 1905.
John Crawford Bell L.S.A. (1799 – 10 July 1877) LSA London 1825, [no evident relation] was a British orthodox surgeon and apothecary who converted to homeopathy and practiced at Princes Street, Norwich, and at 93 High Street Lowestoft. A memorial verse was written in his honour by Robert Abbott, of Malton, for the Swedenborgian Intellectual Repository of the New Church.
In August 1858 a letter to the Medical Times and Gazette suggested that Thomas Vernon Bell, recently graduated M.D. from the University of Edinburgh, was none other than William Bell, formerly of Norwich. The letter writer deduced that William Bell M.D. (Erlangen), as holder of a foreign qualification, had changed his name and identity in order to secure a British qualification and thus ensure his entry on the new medical register.
This accusation was baseless. William and Vernon Bell, both homeopaths, were two entirely separate individuals.