Friday, September 21, 2007

Dale Dubin: Pornography and Prison

Why am I writing about Dr. Dubin again? Well, two reasons: he seems to be the reason a majority of you end up at this blog, and frankly, I became curious as to what the rest of his story was. Where did he go to med school? What was his practice like? Why did he write a book on EKGs when he was a plastic surgeon?

As you know already, he has authored a popular book on EKGs (Rapid Interpretation of EKG's, Sixth Edition), but was also arrested on pornography charges. Another post covered his interesting take on how the heart generates its rhythm.

Today, we find out the whole story... or what I could lazily dig up with a few google searches. Here's what I found:

From a 1987 UPI release, referenced here and reproduced below, Dr. Dubin was a millionaire plastic surgeon who became addicted to cocaine and pornography. He also apparently upset his nudist neighbors in Florida:

Dale Dubin Sentenced To Five Years
Proprietary to the United Press International 1987
March 7, 1987

A federal judge sentenced millionaire plastic surgeon Dale B. Dubin to five years in prison for what the judge called an obsession with pornography and cocaine that turned the doctor's life into a tragedy.

U.S. District Judge William J. Castagna told Dubin at a sentencing hearing Friday he could not see how a ''person of your talent, ability, education and interest in art,'' could have turned his life into such a ''tragedy and waste of such a rare and needed talent.''
Dubin pleaded guilty six weeks ago to 22 counts of child pornography and cocaine charges.
Eleven of the drug counts involved a 16-year-old girl who was seduced by Dubin with the help of pills and vodka and eventually agreed to participate in sexual encounters with Dubin, another 17-year-old girl and a 23-year-old woman.
Dubin videotaped some of the encounters for his pleasure. The incidents took place at two of his condominiums and the Pasco County nudist resort of Paradise Lake.
He is expected to serve his time in a minimum security facility where he will be able to receive drug counseling.
U.S. Attorney Robert W. Merkle, who prosecuted the case, told Castagna that no crimes ''are more violent than the use of child pornography and the distribution of narcotics.'' He said Dubin's attempt to minimize his activities as just a ''lifestyle'' was a ''new low in euphemisms.''
Merkle said it was particularly aggravating that Dubin used his medical knowledge to satisfy his own appetite and risk the lives and mental health of his victims.
Dubin, 47, stood with his head bowed throughout the 40-minute hearing Friday. Except for a few mumbled words about a letter to the judge, he did not say anything.
In that letter, Dubin complained of the ''lurid display'' of his case by prosecutors and claimed details of his activities were ''egregiously distorted'' by the press. He also spoke of his sexual escapades as examples of ''an occasional clandestine soiree.''
Dubin was arrested Aug. 11 at the mansion in Lutz, Fla. he called Hassle Free, after being sucked into a child pornography sting by sending off a $100 bill to buy films including ''Barbarian Girls.''
The Dubin story received extensive news coverage as his doctors unsuccessfully tried to have him committed to a mental hospital for treatment of what they called potentially suicidal depression, and Merkle countered by adding details of the case into the court record.

The post gives some details, but not really much else to go on. Another post on Medstudentitis (well, a comment) notes that Dubin's license to practice medicine in Florida has been revoked.

The only other thing I could find was a post on a Dale B. Dubin from Fort Myers, FL who is apparently an avid hibiscus grower. The linked picture is below.

The site never links this Dubin to the one from the EKG book, but... c'mon, we all know it's him. At any rate, I still have no idea where he went to med school, what his practice was like, or why a plastic surgeon was writing a book on EKGs. The mystery continues...

If you're interested in the book (which is actually quite good), check out: 

Updated 2015-12-07


  1. Who cares???

  2. anonymous dale dubin lover11/02/2007 2:30 AM

    i care! that's why i found this site

  3. seriously, i second ADDL. great research, thanks for the page. a great resource for current and future med students.

  4. Diagnosed with Dubinitis11/02/2007 1:55 PM

    Who cares??? Who cares about a man who teaches millions of nurses, ENTs, med students, doctors - even cardiologists about the basic principles of EKG?? I do. I care. I mean, we are dealing with a man who chose plastic surgery as a career, yet still managed to juggle six editions of an award winning medical text, all-star hibiscus hybridization skills, jailtime, and being an active nudist/naturalist in the second biggest Nudest resort in the country, regardless of how they feel about their image.

    Sure, you probably shouldn't leave the guy alone with your little niece at a family picnic, but anyone who can teach me about something outside his (previous) specialty AND win the 1999 Hibiscus of the Year Award, has my vote.

    Go Dale! I'll see you in the Heartland, little buddy!

  5. anonymous dale dubin lover11/02/2007 8:34 PM

    but i would leave my little niece alone with 5 year old dale

  6. Seriously?....SERIOUSLY?

    I couldn't care less what his acomplishments are, he could cure cancer, invent a pill that makes krispy cream donughts good for you AND cure the common cold and it still wouldn't make the fact that he enjoys fondling little children (I know, I know there is no proof he actually did so but given the chance I'm sure)put him in the vile human being catagory!

    He should be penniless, alone and miserable for the rest of his existence until the day he dies!!

  7. Is 16 years of age really considered "little children?" Not that I condone such behavior - but c'mon, I am an emergency physician in SC, where 16 is the age of consent. Nary a day goes by where I don't see a happily pregnany teen, quite often younger than 16. That being said -- sure I think it is repulsive -- but I also think it is not inaccurate to say he is "fondling little children."

  8. If anyone would like a first edition, I got it back from my mother after she died. I had given it to her because I helped put the book together when he was a surgical resident at Tampa General and I was a chemist there. We were also SCUBA divers together. I got $1, a thank you and my name printed in 14 or so different languages. He finished his residency in plastic at Albany Medical and I lost touch with him after that until he moved back to Tampa to set up a clinic on Buffalo Ave. I moved to Orlando to ultimately open 22 freestanding surgery centers throughout Florida and long since had lost touch with him. Ironically, his building was the last one I opened as an ambulatory surgery center for ophthalmic refractive surgery after he had to sell it. We also did two other audio visuals which never sold prior to the EKG text. While I was at TGH, I also taught EKG at a Jr College while he taught coronary care nurses. We traded ideas on what worked and what didn't when teaching students who barely knew where the heart was located much less how it functioned electrically. The CCU department had a Tampa Electric sign on top of the monitors that said "live better electrically" I still have the photo because I spent many hours in the darkroom at Tampa Photo processing the photos and EKG tracings that were used in the book.

    The first three editions included my name in the credits and most of the original "contributors" were eliminated in the fourth edition credits.

    Any more interest in the history?

  9. Interesting stuff. I'd like to more, if only to know why a plastic surgery resident and a chemist decided to write a book about EKGs. Also, why did you only get paid a dollar?

    If you like, I'd be happy to post the pic if you sent it along.

  10. I was paid a dollar because Dubin's attorney said it would release any claim I may have to the book in the future. Marketing of the book was really interesting. Susan sewed a pocket into a trench coat, Dubin had dropped out of his residency to get enough money to put the book to press, and when we got them, he traveled across the US placing the books in the right position on the book shelves in all the medical school libraries. When he asked for the book, the librarian assumed it had been shelved without being cataloged so it was cataloged. Hense, the claim, it was in all the medical school libraries in the US....and it was.

  11. Forgot to mention, the book outsold Grey's Anatomy and was the largest selling medical text in the world at one time.

  12. Largest selling text? Wow, that's pretty neat.

    I know the posts on here are a bit sensationalistic, but I hope it's not lost on readers that the book itself still remains an excellent primer on how to approach EKGs. Perhaps I should address the book itself more thoroughly in a future post.

  13. Before anyone catches the mispelling of Gray's Anatomy, I'll do it.

    The market timing was perfect for the book. The only competition was a two volume text published by Mountain Press and the programmed study format was ideal for nurses and doctors to learn.

    Dubin, as I mentioned, was a general surgery resident at the time, not a plastic surgeon. I later became a hospital administrator and retired from University of Southern California as COO, Doheny Laser Center for refractive surgery.

    Interesting how life turns out. I am a whole body donor in the Genesis program connected to the University of Tennessee Medical School so I will someday get to go to medical school for free, free cremation and interment in Memphis.

  14. I was a patient of his when I was 18. I had just gone back on my 1 year post op when he was arrested. I met with Merkle several times, and was apparently one of the few teens he wasn't interested in. Its interesting how THAT effects your self esteem. DAG

  15. Sorry, but lol, that's kind of funny. Hopefully it didn't affect your self esteem too much. I can't imagine how betrayed his patients must have felt when he was arrested.

  16. A few words.
    First: Don't forget his great efforts and the very made easy, unique, humorous, simple and amazing book EKG that he wrote and taught millions around the world, please think positive!

    Second, the guy needs help, I heard of many genius brains who went mad, I don't know the reason, but the guy needs nothing but help with his psychiatric problem, that like any disease, could affect any person.

    Dale, thanks out great teacher, I wish you get the help you need.


  17. This is a fascinating story. I've been spending quite bit of time with this book on my medicine clerkship. I was asked to look up some background information on the man, and I agree with the original post that the back-story is very interesting, and all the more pertinent given the armies of young healthcare providers who learn from this book.

    For the man posting as anonymous who reports being a part of this early effort, I would be very interested in learning more about this and who else to contact, perhaps contributing to the lore of Dubin's (and everyone who helped) classic work. If you're still reading this, you can reach me at I would also be interested in obtaining a copy of the first edition if you are still offering it.

  18. Tomorrow I´m going to have a course on EKG and as usual since may be 20 years,I took my copy of Dubin´s book.I was also talking to a a young student about the way to learn very well and quickly EKg using this book.
    we went on the net and we found as first news that D Dubin was a pedofil and sex obsess.
    I was pist off , i thought my self that this man can not be the same that as been helping 1000000000 of doctors , students, nurses in learning EKG.
    as one of the collegue said here in this forum is not possible considere 16y. old girl a child.I can be agree with that I´m a doctor too working at the ER.and this girls are not so innocent like many of you think.But still he lost his dignity of be a DOCTOR putting him self in drugs and sex .
    I´ll still use the book because is great but now I´ll think about Dale Dabin not realy as a the man i´ve been thinking all my life as doctor!!!

  19. Even doctors can pick up nasty addictions and habits, after all they are humans first.

  20. after reading and attempting to understand volumes of crap from lots of other text books on cardiology a friendly cardiologist gave me an old well worn second edition that turned on the light for me. The very next week I returned the amazing book with a fantastic comprehension of all that I had read. This book included the key elements that all the others left out! I do hope Dr Dale gets the help he needs but he and his contributors did an amazing job. Who would have thought to use a Thunderbird to explain what planes you are looking at in what lead.

  21. Did you ever see his paintings? He was genius.
    In the sunken waiting room (when the office was modern and new) the huge painting of a human hand, I loved it. He did start to get a little strange, hair askew, messy. Another Tampa Dr. (well respected/passed) told me that there is a thin line between genius and madness. Dr. Dubin did/does a lot of good for people. He stitched up my head in the ER - St.Joes's after a Rowdies game one night. There's a story = beer! Hit by a sign from above. Did a good job. 1970's.
    Buffalo AV is now Rev.Dr.Martin Luther King BLVD. My husband likes to call it King Buffalo :O) What ticked me off was watching the TV news of T.P.D. rolling out all of his filing cabinets (patient info./photos) for their viewing/evidence? Doctor/patient - privilege/privacy? Not.

  22. I'm a med student at USF, which is in Tampa. A lot of people know his story here and I work in a clinic he built, where he later installed cameras everywhere for his viewing pleasure. He also installed lots of cameras in his mansion where he would throw huge parties with Tampa's finest lawyers, judges, lawmakers, prostitutes and underage girls. He supposedly had a lot of powerful people on tape at his illegal parties. That's the reason he only served 5 years for crimes that the rest of us would have been locked up for life for committing. But the story behind the book is that when he was in his surgical internship here he became frustrated with cardiology texts because he couldn't understand how to read an EKG and so he decided to write a simplified text. No one would publish it because he was neither a cardiologist nor an academic figure, so he made his own publishing company, sold millions of copies and became a millionaire before ever finishing his residency.

  23. Ah, interesting. These posts have been up here for a while, but I'm glad someone finally explained how Dr. Dubin came to write a cardiology book. That's frankly pretty impressive.

    Thanks for the comment! Feel free to email me at scrubnotes (AT) gmail (DOT) com if you have more details to add to the story.

  24. Dr. Dubin will always be a hero to me. He performed plastic surgery on me when I was three years old after having been thrown threw a windshield. Because we did not have much, he never charged for follow up visits and provided all of the special ointments and sunscreens that I needed for many years free. I have had several plastic/reconstructive surgeons tell me how lucky I am that Dr. Dubin was in the hospital when I was brought in. I cried when I watched his arrest and trial, but it does not change the fact that he saved my face and therefore, my life.

  25. Those who purchase his book are sending a clear message that they support him and what he represents. Think about it!

  26. Wrong...those who buy his books show that they want an easy to understand primer on EKG interpretation.

    If we paid for his legal fees, that might be a different story.

    Dr. D's sexual proclivities aside, it's still a great book, and a huge help to me as I study to become a paramedic.

  27. i just bought his ion adventure in heartland. can't wait for it to arrive so i can smell the pages.

  28. I knew his wife (Susan) and babysat his two daughters during their initial separation. It was a terrible ordeal. I remember when private detectives were hired to follow him and he had his own following me. One night, he tried to drug me in a Marriott lounge. This guy was very troubled.

  29. ^ LOL, all doctors are like that, my friends uncle is a doctor, and he seduces all attractive women, by giving them breast examinations and stuff like that lol. Its true like 90% of all medical staff are perverts, we just don't talk about it infront of the patients, but what do you think we are doing in the lounge with our buddies :D.

  30. Excuse but 16 year old, either boys or girls know quite well about sex and how to make decisions about it. You know better because you were 16 one day in the past. I particularly find very hard to believe that people still believe that a 16 is still a child. Just look at the teen!!! Most of them are having sex in a regular base. !6 should not be consider as a child and who has sex with them should not be accused of child molestation if the situation was/is consensual. If it is not consensual then it is another ball game. It is rape!!! I think rapers must be severely punished!!!. And by the way: I do not like 16 year old for any kind of interaction even less sexual but I do believe that they should take responsibility for their own actions and choices.

  31. I guess this has already been answered, but Dubin attended the University of South Florida in Tampa. The book was first published in 1970 and Dubin was first licensed in 1973.
    Dubin still puts food in the cupboard by selling books and what-not:

  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. The dedication in Ion Adventure in the Heartland says that he was a medical student at Indiana University Medical School and that he was an intern "in Florida" (though he declines to specify where in Florida). However, based on the comment of "Anonymous" in the post on 4/17/2008, we know that Dubin was a surgical intern/resident at USF-Tampa.

  34. !6 is often the age of consent in many of our states. 16 is the age at which women are married with children in cultures. (to other teenagers not old men) So this man had some indiscretions with some 16 & 17 year old. What the hell were they doing near him? Were they going to med school or looking for a handout? I'm not saying men who use women after drugging them are fine and upstanding but there are people out there doing this shit to babies, toddlers and children who NEVER get time because they were molested or even related to their victims and are now in counseling.

  35. The age of consent in some of our states is 16. In some cultures 16 year olds are married. (to other teenagers, not old men) There are cretins out there who do shit to babies, toddlers and children but NEVER serve time or get caught. Most of them are related to or very close to their victims. They get to go to counseling. What were the 16 & 17 year olds doing near him? Were they going to go to med school or were they looking for a hand out with a good time? It's unfortunate he made such bad decisions. There are plenty of people out there who do far worse.

  36. I don't understand how people can say purchasing this doctor's book is supporting a pedophile? He paid his debts to society and has been crime free since then. He's obviously helped teach tens of thousands of medical professionals and has probably directly helped you through that.



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