Martin L. Stone, MD

Martin L. Stone, MD

Martin L. Stone, MD (October 30, 2012)

Robert E. Scully, MD was born in Pittsfield, MA on August 31st, 1921 and died on October 30th, 2012, after a short illness. Dr. Scully’s contributions to gynecologic pathology were immense and place him among the highest echelon of contributors to that discipline.

Dr. Martin L. Stone was a quintessential New Yorker and a quintessential medical educator. Born to a family practitioner in the Bronx in 1920, he was educated at Columbia College and graduated from New York Medical College, his father’s alma mater, where he also completed his residency. He was called to active duty in the Army where his leadership experience began as the chief of the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Tilton General Hospital at Fort Dix, New Jersey. After two years in the Army, the Dean of New York Medical College wrote to the Surgeon General of the War Department asking that Dr. Stone be allowed to return there to join the faculty where he remained for the next 30 years. In 1956, at the age of only 36, he became the youngest chairman of any Obstetrics and Gynecology department in the country.

Dr. Stone quickly and forcefully built the Department into a leading clinical and learning environment. During his distinguished career as an outstanding medical educator, Dr. Stone trained hundreds of residents. I count myself fortunate to have been among them. He was tireless in his work ethic and expected the same of his trainees. In the era before work-hour restrictions, our days began early and ran late. Weekends were not reserved for leisure but rather for clinical work. In an era innocent of the complexity of the contemporary teaching hospital, Dr. Stone was able to create a beautiful organizational culture focused on patient care and learning. He enabled all of us, no matter what career path we chose, to complete our training as competent and compassionate obstetrician-gynecologists. We learned to display grace under pressure -- some of that pressure came from him in his exacting but fair standards. Rounding with him was a combination of fear and excitement without ever a moment of boredom. He exhibited “tough love” to all of his residents and we became the better for it.

In 1978, Dr. Stone became the founding Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the then-new State University of New York (SUNY) Medical School at Stony Brook where, for the second time in his career, he developed another outstanding department, known for its excellence.

Dr. Stone was also a great leader on the national stage. He was a Founding Fellow of the American Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which later became ACOG. He served as President of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, editor-in-chief of the ACOG Update, program chair of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics and chair of the American College of Surgeons Advisory Committee in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Among his many honors, he received APGO’s Career Achievement Award.

In December, 2012, a standing-room only memorial service attended by his wife Nancy, family and colleagues, was held at the Harmonie Club in New York. It was presided over by Dr. Myron Gordon, his former trainee and one of the many who went one to become a chair of their respective departments. His son, Robert, gave a moving eulogy among many other heartfelt tributes.

Whenever he was asked how he was doing throughout his long and extraordinary career as a physician educator and leader, his answer was always “Never been better.” Our specialty and those who were fortunate enough to have been his trainees have never been better because of Dr. Stone.

Submitted by Frank A. Chervenak, MD

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