Ida Epshtein was born into a Jewish family in 1898 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. When war broke out on June 22, 1941, Ida was working in her hometown as an ophthalmologist. After Epshtein volunteered for the Red Army on September 18, she served as a military doctor and a surgeon at Evacuation Hospital No. 3240 (one of many field hospitals in the combat zone that gave primary medical and surgical treatment to casualties and from which seriously wounded personnel were sent to the rear for further medical treatment). As the head of the hospital's medical department, Ida Epshtein served as a role model for the rest of the hospital staff. In many cases she dressed wounds and performed life-saving surgery under extremely difficult conditions day and night.
During the war Ida Epshtein was promoted to the rank of captain and awarded the "For the Defense of Stalingrad" medal. She ended the war in Germany. Afterwards she continued to serve as a doctor and a surgeon at a military hospital.
On February 4, 1946 Captain Ida Epshtein was decorated with the Order of the Red Star. Her decoration certificate said that she was being honored "for outstanding devotion in saving the lives of Red Army soldiers and officers and returning them to the ranks of the army."