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Paul E. Epstein, 68​, Expert on Lung Diseases and Frequent Witness in Court Cases

March 26, 2009
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Paul E. Epstein, 68, a retired physician who was an expert on lung diseases, died March 12 at Penn Medicine at Rittenhouse in Philadelphia. He was a resident of Gladwyne.

Epstein was a clinical professor at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, and in 1973 served as founding director of Penn's Cardiovascular Pulmonary Training Program. He was chief of the pulmonary division at Graduate Hospital for 17 years until 1999, and then for eight years was chief of pulmonary medicine at Penn Medicine in Radnor.

A specialist in occupational lung diseases, Epstein served as an examiner for the federal Black Lung Benefits Program; lectured extensively about coal miners' pneumoconiosis, silicosis and other lung diseases; and was often an expert witness in court cases involving asbestos and tobacco.

For example, in 2005, he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing on asbestos and the Federal Employers' Liability Act.

Epstein evaluated nearly 20,000 individuals who had been exposed to mineral dust, and published journal articles and book chapters on lung disease. In 1977, he was part of a Penn team treating very sick patients with an experimental artificial-lung machine.

Epstein was co-editor of the Medical Knowledge Self-Assessment Program, a collection of booklets designed to educate internists. He was also a deputy editor of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

In 2007, a major stroke forced him to retire. While battling to regain his speech, he worked to help other patients who were recovering at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Center City.

A native of Swampscott, Mass., Epstein earned a bachelor's degree from Princeton University and a medical degree from Tufts University. He completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of Chicago Hospital and a fellowship in pulmonary disease at Penn's Medical School.

He served in the Air Force at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, and was an assistant professor at the University of Texas before returning to Penn in the early 1970s.

Epstein had an interest in art and antiques from the Far East, in addition to old clocks.

After his stroke, family members said that he took up drawing and sculpting.

He is survived by his wife of 42 years, the former Marcia Goldschager; daughters Robin Epstein and Amy Feldman; a sister; a brother; and three grandchildren.

Memorial donations can be made to: the Paul Epstein Speech and Language Fund, Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, Development Department, 1513 Race St., Philadelphia, PA 19102.

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