CONCORD — Dr. Randy Kring has 20 minutes left on his Halloween night shift at Emerson Hospital when an ultrasound tech delivers test results that he hadn’t put in for. “That was my brother’s patient,” he said. The tech looks away then laughs, apologizes, and asks him if he knows where his brother is.
Growing up around the dinner table, identical twins Ryan and Randy Kring would hear their parents, who were both doctors, talk about their day and something about those conversations resonated. The twins shared a lot of the same hobbies growing up, from running (both were on the same track and cross country teams), to music (both were drum majors in the marching band) and drama (both did theater). And both decided to go into medicine.
“It wasn’t necessarily conscious,” said Dr. Ryan Kring. “We had similar interests.”
Their parents were in the Air Force, so the family moved around a lot.
“Military families tend to be really tightknit because wherever you move those are the only people you know, initially, ” Ryan said. “Randy and I being identical twins, I had a built-in best friend and/or enemy wherever we were living.”
The family eventually moved to Hanscom Air Force Base and their father, Roy, who had retired from the Air Force while his wife remained in active duty, started working nights in Emerson’s emergency department. Twenty-four years later, his sons now fill his shoes.
Randy, who had arrived first at Emerson three years ago, admitted he was a bit nervous when he found out his brother was going to join him there. He had enjoyed forging his own identity and was a bit worried about being a twin again. But he knew his brother was the right fit for the position. The two had leaned on each other and traded advice during their residencies and the four years Ryan was on active duty in the Air Force, service that took him on a six-month combat deployment to the Middle East with a ground surgical team.
Their communication and trust is evident on this night, when Ryan grabs his brother for his opinion on an ultrasound. The two huddle beside a monitor in the hallway looking at an abnormality on the image, Randy confirms his assessment, and they return to the steady stream of patients needing their help.
Jessica Rinaldi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.