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Hayes was born in Limerick, Ireland. He served as an army surgeon in America between 1775 and 1783, and was a correspondent of Charles Mellish of Blyth, Nottinghamshire. The original connection between Hayes and Mellish has not been established. In 1779 Hayes was promoted as physician to the forces.
When the war in America ended in 1783, Hayes went on half-pay. He went back into army service during the French Revolutionary Wars in the 1790s. He received his medical doctorate from Rheims in 1784 and was appointed physician-extraordinary to the prince of Wales in 1791. Hayes also served as physician at the Westminster Hospital from 1792 to 1794.
He was rewarded for his medical service with a baronetcy in 1797. From 1806 until his death in 1809, Hayes was inspector-general of the ordnance medical department at Woolwich.
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