Adrian ‛George’ Ringer (1937-2021): A ‘considerate, empathetic leader and role model’
An innovative former head of diagnostic imaging at Bermuda’s hospital has been recalled by colleagues as meticulous and pioneering in a developing field of medicine.
Adrian “George” Ringer was a “trailblazer” for diagnostic imaging at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, according to medical secretary Karen Thomas.
She added: “He was a person who was fair and wanted things to be handled fairly.
“If there was anything that the department was in need of, anything that needed change, or whatever it was, he would make his way to the roof and sit with the CEO stating his case on behalf of his team.”
Dr Ringer was “very protective of his staff and always willing to listen”, often as a mentor.
Ms Thomas said he possessed “a way to get staff to exceed his and their expectations”.
Venetta Symonds, the former chief executive of the Bermuda Hospitals Board, said Dr Ringer served as the only radiologist in Bermuda for many years.
She called him “a considerate, empathetic leader and role model” at the hospital.
A “humble spirit, fierce advocate and friend”, Dr Ringer led the growth of diagnostics, Ms Symonds said.
She added: “He oversaw the addition of mammography, ultrasound and CT technology to the diagnostic imaging portfolio, improving timely diagnoses and reducing invasive exploratory surgery for our patients.
“He oversaw the transition from wet-developing X-ray film by hand to the advent of digitised imaging within CT scanning.
“His commitment to professional development was unparalleled.”
Ms Symonds said Dr Ringer was a “champion for Bermudianisation”.
“He welcomed change with a literal open door, welcoming students, scholarship recipients and all who were interested.
“He instilled an exemplary work ethic with his example, and encouraged creativity and experimentation, preferring that we learn through doing.
“Many have been touched deeply by Dr Ringer’s gentle but direct words, and his subtle lessons and guidance.
“He was an exemplary professional and peer among physicians, a dependable boss, a for ever friend to many of us, an ordinary person with a keen sense of humour.
“Dr Ringer expected nothing in return for all that he did. To this humble but great leader, we pause and say thank you.”
Renée Butterfield, the clinical manager of imaging services, said Dr Ringer had been instrumental in bringing the first CT scanner to Bermuda.
In a tribute online, his friend Adrian Thomas, chairman of the International Society for the History of Radiology and honorary historian at the British Institute of Radiology, said Dr Ringer led the way in a developing area of life-saving technology.
Educated at the University of Birmingham, he obtained a fellowship from the Faculty of Radiologists at the Royal College of Surgeons, which became the Royal College of Radiologists in 1975.
Born in the town of Slough in Berkshire, England, Dr Ringer moved to Bermuda in 1969 for a 30-year career in radiology.
Dr Thomas said his arrival coincided with an era of significant technological innovation.
He added: “During his time at KEMH, he assisted in bringing much of this new technology in radiology to the people of Bermuda.
“The first MRI scanner arrived at the hospital in 2002 and came in a prefabricated building. They had to lift the building off the ship and onto the dock. It was put on a trailer and transported to the hospital.”
The hospital was substantially modernised during his tenure, with a new surgical wing, new emergency ward, hospice, intensive care unit and pharmacy added in the late 1990s.
Dr Thomas said Dr Ringer was remembered professionally as “an intelligent, well-qualified, dedicated, and highly respected radiologist”, known fondly to colleagues as “Uncle Ringer”.
He added: “Throughout his life, George loved being near the water, and like many radiologists, he was an avid photographer – capturing his travels and his growing family.
“When he retired, he began spending his summers in Newport, Rhode Island, enjoying the view of the harbour and its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.
He is survived by his wife, Paula, and children Karen Marie Amos, George K Ringer and Matthew Ringer.
⋅ Adrian “George” Ringer, a leading radiologist, was born on February 27, 1935. He died on June 13, 2021, aged 86.