Lake Havasu City lost one of its longest-tenured doctors on Sunday when Dr. Nick Rizos, who delivered many of the babies born in Lake Havasu City over the past 30 years, died from covid-19 according to friends.
Rizos worked as an obstetrician and gynecologist in Havasu since the 1980s as both a staff member at Havasu Regional Medical Center and in his private practice at Havasu Women’s Health Center. Friends and colleagues say he was highly respected in the local medical community and was very popular with his patients.
“His patients really liked him,” said Dr. Don Nelson, a retired OB-GYN who was a friend of Rizos and a colleague for over 30 years. “They were very loyal to him. Once they established themselves with him they wouldn’t switch.”
Nelson and Dr. Tom Wrona, who is a retired internal medicine physician in Havasu, both described Rizos as conscientious, caring and very intelligent.
“He was a good doctor, he was a good surgeon, he was a good technician and had very, very few complications,” Nelson said.
Wrona added that Rizos always seemed to love his chosen profession.
“I really think he enjoyed practicing,” Wrona said. “A lot of people can’t say that anymore. A lot of people complain about practicing medicine, but I really think he enjoyed it.”
“He was a benefit to the community in general,” added Dr. Bill Binder, who has also worked in Havasu since the 1980s. “You build your strength and the medical staff in the community by the quality of the people that you bring in. The quality that we had 25 to 30 years ago in our community was outstanding and Nick participated in all of that.”
Wrona said outside of medicine, Rizos was very intelligent and well read. Particularly in the areas of electronics and sports cars.
“Apparently at one time he subscribed to about 100 magazines a month – he was well read,” Wrona said. “You could talk to him about a subject that had to do with electronics, telecommunications or sports cars and he knew it all. He was just an amazingly bright, intelligent guy.”
Wrona and Nelson both said Rizos had recently been considering retiring, or at least cutting back on his workload after nearly 40 years in Havasu.
Nelson, Wrona and Binder all said Rizos death came as a shock.
Nelson said Rizos had only been confirmed positive for coronavirus for a few days and when he spoke with him on Friday he was a little bit short of breath but expected a full recovery. He said Rizos spoke with family members in Atlanta and Toronto over Skype on Saturday but he lost consciousness due to an unknown complication on Sunday night and doctors were unable to revive him.
Nelson said he first met Rizos at a medical conference in Phoenix when Rizos, a native Canadian, was finishing up his residency in Toronto. Nelson said Rizos told him he wanted to start his career in the United States and Nelson mentioned that there was a need for him in Lake Havasu City because an OB-GYN in town was planning to move to Denver.
Once Rizos completed his residency he moved to Havasu where he started his practice and joined the staff at Havasu Regional Medical Center and he spent his entire professional career here.
“Not many people can say that, because a lot of people jump around from town to town,” Wrona said. “He had to put in at least 35 years in Havasu and he supported the community all these years.”
Rizos is survived by his son, Anthony Rizos.