Nova Scotia

N.S. doctor who delivered 15,000 babies dies

Dr. Irving Perlin died New Year's Eve after delivering 15,000 babies throughout his career as an obstetrician in Nova Scotia. The Sydney native established his practice in 1949 in Halifax, becoming the first Jewish obstetrician and gynecologist in the city.

Dr. Irving Perlin practised as an obstetrican in Halifax for 45 years

Dr. Irving Perlin, a Cape Breton native who delivered some 15,000 babies during a long, history-making career in obstetrics, has died.

The doctor, who retired in 2010, died New Year's Eve in Toronto, according to an online obituary.

He was 96.

Dr. Irving Perlin delivered 15,000 babies in Nova Scotia over a 45-year career. (The Perlin family )

The Sydney native established his practice in 1949 in Halifax, becoming the first Jewish obstetrician and gynecologist in the city.

According to his obituary, Perlin went on to practise for 45 years before his retirement and moving to Toronto. 

Dr. Andrew Lynk, chief of pediatrics at the IWK, said Perlin had "a lot of experience for one person" when it came to helping welcome babies into the world.

Delivering 15,000 babies "is a super significant number," he said.

Student was delivered by Perlin

Perlin would have had to deliver more than one baby a day for every work day during his 45-year career, without accounting for vacation time. 

Lynk not only studied obstetrics under Perlin at Dalhousie Medical School, but was one of the 15,000 children his teacher delivered.

Lynk recalled his first time delivering a child as his mentor, Perlin, looked on. 

"Don't worry about anything," Lynk reassured the expectant mother. "Dr. Perlin delivered me."

The comment prompted an elbow in the ribs from Perlin, Lynk recalled, as if to say "I'm not that old."

"But he was that old," said Lynk.

Fondly remembered 

Perlin will be fondly remember by his friends in Halifax, including the Green family.

Roselle Green said her husband, Dr. Saul Green, went to medical school with Perlin. The families helped found the Shaar Shalom Synagogue in Halifax and their children grew up together. 

"He gave himself to the synagogue above and beyond anybody else," said Roselle Green. "He was just remarkable, he was so committed. And he did so out of love, not because he had to."

Green described Perlin as a modest, soft-spoken man who was held in high regard in the Jewish and medical communities. 

"For him, the birth of a child had such meaning," she said. "It wasn't just a mechanical kind of thing. He really felt that it was something very special to give birth to a living person." 

Perlin was also Green's doctor and delivered her children, including her son, Morris Green, who described the doctor as a "really cool guy." 

Overwhelming response

Morris Green said he posted Perlin's obituary on Facebook, and was overwhelmed by the response. 

"Within minutes, all kinds of people were commenting, 'Hey, he delivered me. He delivered me, too.' And it just hits you, wow, he really impacted tons and tons of lives. Pretty amazing guy." 

According to Perlin's obituary, he became president of an association for Nova Scotia obstetricians and gynaecologists and taught at Dalhousie Medical School. He was also a father, grandfather and great-grandfather. 

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