Thomas Bond (physician)

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Thomas Bond (May 2, 1712 – March 26, 1784) was an American physician and surgeon. In 1751 he co-founded the Pennsylvania Hospital, the first medical facility in the American colonies, with Benjamin Franklin, and also volunteered his services there as both physician and teacher.

Education and professional life[edit]

Bond was born in Calvert County, Maryland, the son of Richard Bond and Elizabeth Chew (née Benson). The family moved to Philadelphia while Thomas was still a young man. He began his medical training in Annapolis but traveled to Paris and England in 1738 to complete it. He returned to Philadelphia in 1739, and two years later was made Port Inspector for Contagious Diseases in that city. In 1743, he helped his long-time friend Benjamin Franklin establish the American Philosophical Society. Having formed a favorable opinion of British hospitals in the course of his studies, Bond began trying to raise funds in 1750 to establish a place of care for the both the sick and the mentally ill, particularly for the poor. Unable to raise the funds himself, he turned to his friend Franklin, who had more success. Together they co-founded the Pennsylvania Hospital, which is located on Eighth and Pine Streets in Philadelphia.

The hospital quickly drew attention as a center for medical advancement, especially in maternity care and the humane treatment of mental illness, a poorly understood area of medicine at the time. Bond volunteered his services as a surgeon at this facility for more than three decades, from the year of its founding until he died. Some years after the hospital opened, he was joined there by his younger brother, Phineas Bond, who was also a skilled physician.

Dr. Bond earned a high reputation as a surgeon, especially for amputations and bladder stone operations. Many patients traveled considerable distances (from as far away as Boston) to avail themselves of his surgical care. He developed a splint for fractures of the lower arm, known as a "Bond splint." Thomas Bond also served as trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, where, in 1766, he began clinical lectures for the benefit of medical students. These formal lectures supplemented the bedside clinical instruction he conducted in the hospital. For his learning and pedagogy, he earned the title, "Father of Clinical Medicine." The alumni association of the Pennsylvania Hospital is today known as the Thomas Bond Society.

Service during the Revolutionary War[edit]

When the American Revolutionary War broke out, the sixty-three-year-old doctor along with his son, helped to organize the medical department of the Continental Army. He established the first American field hospitals during the conflict. He was also a member of the local Committee of Safety during the war. He served as personal physician to Deborah Read, Benjamin Franklin's wife, and attended her during her final illness while Franklin was in France.

Personal life[edit]

Thomas Bond was a Quaker. His first wife, Susannah Roberts, was the daughter of Edward Roberts, the mayor of Philadelphia. They married in 1735, and with her he had two children. He remarried after her early death and had seven children by Sarah Weyman, among whom was another Dr. Thomas Bond. He is buried in Christ Church Burial Ground in Philadelphia. His epitaph reads: "In Memory of Thomas Bond, MD who practiced Physic and Surgery with signal reputation and success nearly half a Century, lamented and beloved by many, respected and esteemed by all, and adorned by literary honors sustained by him with dignity."

Trivia[edit]

His home at 129 South 2nd Street in Philadelphia is now a bed & breakfast, called simply Thomas Bond House.

A letter written on August 24, 1781 by Dr. Bond provides an early (and possibly the earliest) reference to the production of morphine in the United States. He wrote to a Pennsylvania farmer, "The opium you sent is pure and of good quality. I hope you will take care of the seed." [1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Proceedings, American Pharmaceutical Association, 13 (1865): 51.

External links[edit]