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Biographical entry Ramsey, Ernest William (1938 - 2001)

MRCS and FRCS 1968; MB BCh BAO Belfast 1963; FRCS Edinburgh 1967; FRCSC 1972.

24 September 1938
Larne, Northern Ireland
5 June 2001


Ernie Ramsey was one of Canada's leading urologists. Born in Larne, Northern Ireland, on 24 September 1938, he studied medicine at Queen's University, Belfast, qualifying in 1963 and gaining prizes in pathology, anatomy and surgery. From 1964 to 1970 he continued his studies in surgery, gaining his English and Edinburgh Fellowships. He also took some time off to work as a ship's doctor for the Union Castle line plying between England and South Africa.

In 1970, he emigrated to Canada, and completed his training in urology at Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, in 1972. He then moved to Winnipeg, where after two years in private practice with privileges at St Boniface Hospital, he accepted a full-time appointment as an assistant professor in the section of urology of the University of Manitoba. In 1979, he was promoted to Associate Professor, and appointed programme director and head of the section of urology at the health services centre and the University of Manitoba. In 1984, he became a Professor. In January 1990, he accepted an appointment as professor and head of the division of urology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, but returned to Winnipeg in August of the same year, as surgical director of the renal transplantation unit at the health services centre and director of urological oncology with CancerCare Manitoba. He remained in Winnipeg for the rest of his career.

He was a member of the Canadian Urological Association executive from 1984 to 1986 and President in 1992. He was secretary of the Canadian Academy of Urological Surgeons from 1978 to 1983 and President in 1985. He was the founding Chairman of the Canadian Prostate Health Council, and on the editorial boards of the Canadian Journal of Surgery, Contemporary Urology (Canada), Current Oncology and the Canadian Journal of Urology. In 2001, he was honoured with the Canadian Urological Association award, in recognition of his contribution to Canadian urology.

At Manitoba he built the section of urology from one full-time individual and two residents, to ten urologists (six full-time) and ten residents. He successfully negotiated for the construction of a state of the art endourology operating room with built-in fluoroscopy, and a mobile care clinic with fluoroscope assisted endoscopy, urodynamics laboratory, shock wave lithotripsy, and full anaesthesia and recovery capabilities. A new prostate centre, one of his longstanding goals, has been approved for construction.

Ramsey had a passion for teaching, not only formally, but also in the operating rooms, wards and clinics. Between 1980 and 2001, 22 residents successfully completed their urology training in Manitoba. He was awarded the educator of the year award by the residents and interns of the University of Manitoba.

Outside his professional career, he enjoyed sports. He played rugby in his youth, and later enjoyed tennis, squash, downhill skiing, and even an occasional game of golf. He loved music, and was an accomplished piano player. He had a good sense of humour, loved to travel, and appreciated fine food and wine. He died after a brief illness on 5 June 2001 and is survived by his wife Diane, one son, Ian, and two daughters, Clare and Katherine.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Can J Urol 2001 8(4) 1300-1301, with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England