George Ritter, M.D. ’45, was born in Detroit of Hungarian-Austrian immigrant parents. He attended Detroit Public Schools and graduated from Wayne State University Liberal Arts College with a bachelor’s degree in 1942. After receiving his medical degree, he served an internship at Detroit and a residency in Veterans Administration Hospital in Allen Park, Mich.
He served two years in the U.S. Army as a captain at Fitzsimons General Hospital in Denver, Colo. He entered private practice as a cardiologist in 1951. During that time, he chaired several committees at Mount Carmel Hospital in Detroit and Providence Hospital in Southfield, Mich. At Providence, he chaired the Department of Medicine for three years and was chief of Cardiology for 14 years.
As an active member of the American Heart Association of Michigan – he served as president in 1981 — he lectured widely on new techniques, including cardiac defibrillation, CPR and Cardiac Intensive Care Unit methods. He pioneered the development of paramedic operations. Before 1970, the concept of CICU techniques being applied outside the hospital setting was unknown. Based on ideas developed in Ireland and Seattle, Wash., firefighters were trained in hospital emergency techniques, and the Southfield Paramedic System became the first in the country. This concept is now considered a standard of care in all communities.
Dr. Ritter co-wrote more than 15 peer-reviewed published research papers on the topic of cardiac resuscitation and the management of cardiac arrest. He retired in 1972 after 41 years of private practice, but continued in cardiac rehabilitation for three years. He continued his interest in cardiology and wrote an occasional research paper.
Dr. Ritter is extremely passionate about the Wayne State University School of Medicine and has been an active member of the Alumni Association since 2006.