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DR. THOMAS BOND

(1712 - 1784)

Dr. Thomas Bond, a native of Philadelphia, was a founder of Pennsylvania Hospital. As did all colonists who wanted to be physicians, Dr. Bond traveled to Europe to receive his medical education. While studying in England in 1749, he was greatly impressed with British hospitals. To improve the quality of patient care and to advance the city's medical profession, Dr. Bond became committed to building a hospital in Philadelphia.

The "hospital movement" had begun in England with the dual purpose of caring for the sick and in hopes of removing the ailing from charity rolls (thereby reducing or removing the financial burden of their care from the community). In turn, the hospital patients served as clinical subjects for scientifically oriented physicians. For the same humanitarian, financial and scientific reasons, the hospital movement spread to the American colonies.

Dr. Bond initially had difficulty selling Philadelphians on the idea of a small provincial hospital for sick, injured and lunatic patients. He was frequently asked: "Have you consulted Franklin on this business? And what does he think of it?" Dr. Bond did indeed consult Benjamin Franklin, and the collaboration of the two friends resulted in the founding of Pennsylvania Hospital in 1751.

Dr. Bond went on to serve American medicine throughout his lifetime. He was a member of the first medical staff at Pennsylvania Hospital, volunteering his professional services to the hospital from 1751 until his death in 1784. He also contributed to the hospital's finances and served on its first Board of Managers. A founder and trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Bond shared his skill and experience by delivering clinical lectures to students at Pennsylvania Hospital. These early lectures earned him the title "Father of Clinical Medicine." At the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, the sixty-year old doctor and his son rendered service by helping to organize the medical department of the American Army. Dr. Bond was also an original member and an officer of the American Philosophical Society.

On the tombstone at Christ Church in Philadelphia is the following: "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."

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