From paramedic to nurse to physician, there is no doubt that Dr. Robert “Bobby” Ridgeway is devoted to caring for his patients.
Dr. Ridgeway was named the South Carolina Office of Rural Health’s 2010 Outstanding Rural Practitioner of the Year during the SCORH Annual Conference awards ceremony held March 18, on the Isle of Palms. The award is given to a rural primary healthcare provider whose services and community commitment has resulted in significant improvement in the delivery of primary healthcare service.
For Dr. Ridgeway, love for and commitment to his rural South Carolina community and her citizens dates back decades.
He was raised in Pinewood and graduated high school there in 1976.
A lifelong firefighter enthusiast, he held jobs as a certified emergency medical technician, and later as a paramedic, solidifying his commitment to a career in rural healthcare.
He sought and received an associate degree in nursing, and held positions as an EMT, paramedic and registered nurse at Clarendon Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Ridgeway was passionate about medicine, and after receiving a B.S. in biology in 1982 from Francis Marion College, he pursued a medical degree from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, graduating in May 1988.
Though Dr. Ridgeway crossed the South Carolina border to attend OB/Gyn residency at Memorial Medical Center in Savannah, he could not stay away from the rural South Carolina community he loved most and returned after completing residency in 1992.
At that time, Dr. Ridgeway opened Santee Cooper Ob/Gyn in Manning and practiced there for seven years.
In April 1999, he opened Palmetto Women’s Healthcare in Manning, and will soon celebrate his 11th year in practice at that site.
Dr. Ridgeway has been part of the Clarendon Memorial Hospital system family for many years, and has served as chief of the medical staff and is currently chief of obstetrics and gynecology.
“It is impossible to say too many good things about Dr. Bobby Ridgeway,” said Ed Frye, chief executive officer of Clarendon Health System. “Not only is he an extremely competent and caring physician, he is a good man. In the 20 years I have known Bobby, is it seldom that I have not seen him with a smile on his face and a kind word for those around him. He is certainly one of the most respected and beloved physicians in this community. He richly deserves this honor.”
Dr. Ridgeway has a daughter, Victoria, who will complete an osteopathy degree in 2011, and a son, Robert, who is a third year biology major also very interested in a career in medicine.
Dr. Ridgeway’s wife, Deborah, is a cheerleader for the family’s enduring love of medicine.
Dr. Ridgeway is an active member of the community, giving unselfishly of his time to many endeavors including serving as the Clarendon EMS medical director and volunteer for the Clarendon County Fire Department, dedicating his time and energy to church medical missions, serving as the medical director of the Light of Hope Crisis Pregnancy Center and being a role model/mentor to students in rural clinical rotations.
“Helping others in their time of need was to be his life’s calling,” Frye added. “Dr. Ridgeway never forgot his community. He is a true success story, devoting his life to serving others.”