Rubin, Isidor Clinton, 1883-1958

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Rubin, Isidor Clinton, 1883-1958

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Isidor Clinton Rubin was born January 8, 1883 in Vienna, Austria. His parents were Nehemiah and Froma (Keller) Rubin. He attended the College of the City of New York and graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University in 1905. For the next three years, he served as an intern and then a resident at the Mount Sinai Hospital.

In 1909, Rubin, along with Dr. Abraham Hyman, went abroad for additional post-graduate training. He traveled in Austria and Germany and studied with Professor Julius Schottlander, Pathologist of the II University Frauenklinik in Vienna. In 1954 he dedicated the publication of his Collected Works to Dr. Schottlander.

Upon his return to the United States, Dr. Rubin set up a private practice and took appointments on the Gynecology staffs at Mount Sinai, Montefiore, and Beth Israel Hospitals. He also worked at the Harlem Hospital for some years. He held a clinical faculty appointment on the Gynecology staff of the College of Physicians and Surgeons from 1937-47. He also taught at the New York Medical College and New York University medical school. In 1945, he retired from active service at Mount Sinai and became a Consultant to the Hospital.

Dr. Rubin's reputation was built on his work in several areas. He was among the first to apply x-rays in the practice of gynecology. He also did work on carcinoma of the cervix, uterine Endoscopy, and ectopic pregnancy. (See his Collected Works for a list of papers.)

He is perhaps best known for what is called the Rubin Test. This is a test to determine the patency of the fallopian tubes; if the tubes are blocked, sterility results. The test consists of insufflating a gaseous medium (originally oxygen, later changed to carbon dioxide) into the uterine cavity. Rubin performed the first test on November 3, 1919 at The Mount Sinai Hospital. Prior to the development of the Rubin Test, doctors could only test patency with any certainty by performing a surgical procedure called a laparotomy. In other cases, where the tubal factor had not been explored, other operative procedures were used to relieve sterility when, in fact, the problem was due to closed fallopian tubes. In sum, the Rubin Test reduced the number of surgical procedures needed to diagnose and treat sterility in women. It also had therapeutic value in that it relieved some cases of dysmenorrhea and sometimes facilitated conception.

Dr. Rubin was very much involved in outside professional activities. In 1928 he served as President of the New York Obstetrical Society. He was a founding member of the American College of Surgeons and the American Board of Obstetrics. In 1955-56, he was the President of the American Gynecological Society. He also helped edit the International Journal of Fertility, Fertility and Sterility, Gynecologie Pratique and the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Dr. Rubin received many awards over his life. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Gynecological Society and the New York Obstetrical Society. In 1947, he won the ORTHO Award, and received the rank of Chevalier in the French Legion of Honor. In 1954, he became Officier of this group. He was awarded honorary degrees from the University of Athens in 1952 and the Sorbonne in 1955. In 1957, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists awarded him an Honorary Fellowship. His alma mater, the College of the City of New York, chose him for their Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Dr. Isidor Rubin married Sylvia Unterberg in 1914. When he died, while at a conference in London on July 10, 1958, he was survived by three children, Dr. Harvey N. Rubin, Carol R. Meyer, and Edith R. Fishel.


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