University of Edinburgh.
In 1793-1795, he published Discourses on the Nature and Cure of Wounds. A man of compassion, Bell made many enemies because he was outspoken about the unnecessary pain and suffering inflicted by incompetent surgeons practicing in Scotland. In 1800 he became involved in an unfortunate controversy with James Gregory (1753-1821), the professor of medicine at Edinburgh.
Gregory in 1800 attacked the system whereby the fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh acted in rotation as surgeons at the Royal Infirmary, with the result that the younger fellows were excluded.
Bell, who was among the number, composed an Answer for the Junior Members (1800), and ten years later published a collection of Letters on Professional Character and Manners, which he had addressed to Gregory. After his exclusion from the infirmary he ceased to lecture and devoted himself to study and practice.
Bell was also a talented artist, and was one of the few medical men to illustrate his own work. In 1816 he was injured by a fall from his horse and in the following year went to Italy for the benefit of his health.