Ross Golden (1889 - 1975) 600

Ross Golden (1889 – 1975) was an American radiologist

Known principally for his contributions to the examination of the gastrointestinal tract, His mono­graph entitled Radiologic Examination of the Small In­testine (1945), was the first book on this subject and was translated into Spanish (1947) with a second edition published in 1959.

He made acute observations on the movements of the stomach and on disorders of the small intestine. In case histories of malabsorption problems he mentioned the all-impor­tant record of wheat ingestion, years before the sig­nificance of the gluten fraction was recognized. Simi­larly, his advocacy of the use of whole liver extract and of vitamins for certain small intestine disorders antedated the discovery of the reasons for giving them

Golden’s early publications concentrate on the biologic effects of x-rays and radiotherapy; the correlation of radiologic examinations of the digestive tract with surgical pathology; and reports on barium studies of the stomach and small intestine.

Probably best known as Editor for twenty-five years of the textbook: Diagnostic roentgenology – more recently published as Golden’s Diagnostic Roentgenology. His mono­graph entitled Radiologic Examination of the Small In­testine, published in 1945, was the first book on this subject, and was translated into Spanish in 1947; a second edition of this monograph was published in 1959.

Eponymously remembered for Golden S sign first described in 1925

Ross Golden, friend and teacher, belongs in the group of exceptional radiologists whose study and teaching have made Radiology a consultative service rather than a picture-taking business

Lois Cowan Collins, 1974
  • Born on September 30, 1889 in Iowa Center, Iowa, USA – the son of a methodist minister
  • 1912 – Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell College, Mt. Vernon, Iowa
  • 1916 – MD from Harvard Medical School, Boston
  • 1917 – House Officer on the Medical Service of the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston; First Lieutenant of the regular Army Medical Corps and ordered to the Army Medical School, Washington DC in July of 1917
  • 1918-1920 Overseas services as’Battalion Surgeon; camp medical service lead in Eastern France; medical labo­ratory work and pathology assignments. Resigned his commission as a Major in the Medical Corps in April 1920
  • 1920 – Resident in the X-Ray Department of the Massachu­setts General Hospital, Boston training in ‘x-ray work’ under George Winslow Holmes (1876-1959)
  • 1922 – Attending Physician and Head of the X-Ray Department of the Presbyterian Hospital in New York City; Assistant Professor of Medicine in the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University
  • 1928 – Director of the Radiological Service at the newly opened Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in Washington Heights; Associate Professor Medicine
  • 1934 – Radiology was one of the twelve medical disciplines to be officially recognized as a medical specialty. The American Board of Radiology was organized and commenced a three year trasining program. Appointed Professor of Radiology and Chairman of the Department in the College of Physicians and Sur­geons of Columbia University; held this position until retirement on October 1, 1954
  • 1947 – DSc (Honoris Causa)
  • 1954 – Retired. Became Emeritus Professor of Radiology at Columbia University and left New York; Annual Ross Golden Lectureship was es­tablished by the New York Roentgen Society in collab­oration with Columbia University
  • 1954-1967 Visiting professor of radiology at the University of California, Los Angeles
  • Offices held: Chairman of the Section on Radiology of the American Medical Association (1937); President of the New York Roentgen Society (1930, 1942) President of the American College of Radiology (1943); President of the American Roentgen Society (1944); Chairman of its International Commission on Rules and Regulations (1956-69)
  • Medals awarded by the American College of Radiology; Radiological Society of North America; Indian Ra­diological Association; Inter-American College of Radiology; the Brit­ish Institute of Radiology (Mackenzie Davidson medal); and by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University by (Silver Medallion commemorating the 200th Anniversary of the College)
  • Died on January 10, 1975 in Santa Ana, California, USA

Medical Eponyms
Golden S sign (1925)

A radiological sign which should raise suspicion of bronchial carcinoma. A characteristic reverse S-shaped shadow may be seen in the right upper lobe.

A manifestation of right upper lobe atelectasis secondary to an obstructing lesion at the right hilum. It may also be accompanied by a raised right hemidiaphragm.

1925 – Golden original described a series of 5 cases describing ‘Roentgen-Ray Shadows in Carcinoma of the Bronchus‘. Three of the cases involved carcinoma of the right upper lobe and shared characteristic features

The fifth case is one of carcinoma arising in the bronchus to the right upper lobe. The patient was a man aged fifty-one, who came to the Out-Patient Department complaining of swelling of the head. For three months he had had cough with bloody sputum at times and dyspnea on exertion…

The first film (Fig.18 – August 8) shows a dense homogeneous shadow, the border of which is convex medially and concave toward the periphery, occupying the upper half of the right lung field. The inner third of the right diaphragm is pulled up as noted in preceding cases. The second film (Fig.19 – August 27), shows a marked increase in the downward bulge of the shadow. 

Necropsy was performed September 12 and disclosed a carcinoma of the bronchus to the right upper lobe, the lumen of which was so narrow that only a small probe could be passed through it. Beyond the obstruction it was dilated and contained pus. The upper lobe was shrunken and its bronchi ilated and filled with pus. The pleura over the upper lobe was very thick and adherent. The bronchi to the middle and lower lobes were not obstructed. 

There is no obvious explanation for this change in the size and contour of the shadow in the right lung field. As the middle lobe bronchus was uninvolved it could not be due to the development of atelectasis of a small middle lobe. The tumor itself extended only 4 cm. below the bifurcation and the same distance to the right of the trachea. The most probable explanation is the actual increase in the size of the upper lobe due to the accumulation of pus and secretion in the bronchiectatic cavities. This would also apply to the change described in the lower border of the shadow in Case III. 

Golden R. 1925
Golden S Sign 1925 case V original
Golden S Sign 1925 case V label
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Fig. 18. Case V. Carcinoma of the bronchus to the right upper lobe. Aug. 8, 1923. The upper half of the right lung field is occupied by a dense shadow with sharply defined lower border which is convex close to the mediastinum and concave toward the periphery. The inner third of right diaphragm pulled up. Golden R. 1925

Major Publications



With special thanks to Stephen E. Novak head of Archives & Special Collections – Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library at Columbia University Irving Medical Center

  • Ross Golden, 85, Radiologist dies. New York Times Jan. 11, 1975
  • Tateiri H. [Dr. Ross Golden]. Nihon Igaku Hoshasen Gakkai Zasshi. 1975 Jul 25;35(7):511.
  • Rigler LG. Ross Golden, M.D. Radiology, 1975; 116(3): 742–743
  • Cowan Collins L. Tribute to Ross Golden. P&S Quarterly, 1976 (Winter); 21(1): 23-25. [*Previously published a short time before his death by Dr. Lois Cowan Collins and had been pub­lished in the Classical Monograph on Radiology]
  • Dr Ross Golden. Find A Grave
  • Bibliography. Golden, Ross. WorldCat Identities

Eponymous terms


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BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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