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Biographical entry Ranger, Ian (1925 - 2008)

MRCS and FRCS 1952; MB BS London 1947; MS 1963; LRCP 1952.

14 February 2008
Cringleford, Norfolk, UK
General surgeon


Ian Ranger was a true general surgeon who worked in the United Norwich Hospitals from 1967 to 1988. He was the son of William Ranger and Hatton Thomasina née Grigg. His father had been a schoolmaster, army officer and businessman who emigrated to Australia in 1920, where Ian and his brother (Sir) Douglas were born. He was educated at Scott’s College, Warwick, Queensland and the Church of England Grammar School, Brisbane, returning to England before the Second World War to finish his schooling. He followed his elder brother Douglas to the Middlesex Hospital.

After qualifying he worked for a year at the Bland Sutton Institute of Pathology under Leslie Le Quesne. In 1958 he spent a year at the Boston City Hospital under Dunphy, with whom he retained strong links and whilst there gave practical classes in surgical technique to medical students. Carl Walter, inventor of the Fenwal bag used in blood transfusion, made students smear their hands with lamp black and scrub it all off before operating.

On returning to the UK, Ian completed his thesis on oesophageal reflux. In 1964 he began a long locum in Cambridge during the illness of Brian Truscott and was appointed to the definitive post in Norwich in 1967, joining Alan Birt in one surgical firm. He also held posts at the Jenny Lind Hospital for Children and the Cromer and District Hospital, where he started to provide emergency surgical cover and worked with a voluntary organisation, the Cromer Allies, to raise funds for a new ward and operating theatre.

He published papers on sialography, the dissemination of micro-organisms by a suction pump, superior mesenteric artery occlusion, and was a Hunterian Professor in 1961. Naturally left-handed, he was completely ambidextrous, working rapidly with never a wasted movement. Many residents went to Norwich from overseas to rotate through the surgical firms, and Ian was surgical tutor for East Anglia for three years.

He married Janet, who predeceased him. They had two sons, Alistair and Piers. Alistair became a GP in Scotland. Ian Ranger died in Cringleford, Norwich, on 14 February 2008.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England