It is cheering that a Nigerian pediatric surgeon, Professor Oluyinka Olutoye led a team of surgeons that carried out a surgery that has been generally regarded as a rare medical feat recently in the United States. Olutoye and Dr. Darrell Cass of Texas Children’s Hospital led a team of 22 doctors that carried out a delicate surgery on a 23-week old foetus that was removed from the mother’s womb, operated upon and returned to the womb to heal and continue to grow until the baby girl was born healthy at 36 weeks.
The baby has reportedly suffered from ‘sacrococcgeal teratoma’, a tumour that develops before birth and grows from a baby’s tailbone. According to medical experts, the condition which is found more in the female foetus than in the male counterpart occurs in one out of every 35,000 births. But the good news is that the baby, Lynlee Hope, is alive today and doing well.
Since the news of the medical feat broke, the Nigerian has made headlines in the US and indeed all over the world. He has been celebrated in the US, Nigeria and other places in the world. President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Dr. Olutoye for making the country proud. The nation’s House of Representatives has also honoured the doctor for his outstanding medical achievement.
Speaking on the medical feat, an elated Olutoye said that he is humbled by all the attention ‘our medical feat’ has received. He stressed the privilege to work at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine, to lead a team of talented physicians, nurses and others to provide care for Margaret Boemer and her baby, Lynlee. He said that it is a blessing to be able to care for families like Boemers in their time of need.
Olutoye hails from Ido-Ani in Ose Local Government area of Ondo State. He attended University of Lagos Staff School for his primary education, King’s College Lagos for his secondary education and later Obafemi Awolowo University. Dr. Olutoye, the Co-Director of Texas Children’s Fetal Centre and Fetal Surgery Team member, had his medical degree from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria in 1988 and his Ph.D in Anatomy from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, USA, in 1996. He completed his residency in general surgery at the Medical College of Virginia Hospitals, Virginia Commonwealth University. He got his Fellowship in pediatric surgery at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia. Olutoye is a member of the International Fetal Medicine and Surgery Society; a Fellow of the Surgical Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics and American College of Surgeons. He is also a Fellow of the West African College of Surgeons.
Olutoye specialized in fetal and neonatal surgery with specific interest in congenital diaphragmatic hernia and complex wounds. His research interest include understanding the role of the fetal inflammatory response in scarless fetal wound healing, development of animal models of congenital anomalies, in utero correction of severe congenital malformations among others.
We congratulate Olutoye on his achievement and urge him not to rest on his oars. He should see the feat as a ladder to climb higher in his chosen field. The Federal Government should honour Olutoye for his achievement.
We urge other Nigerian doctors at home and in the Diaspora to emulate his shining example. The Federal Government should invest more in medical education and produce enough medical doctors that can manage our healthcare needs and stem the current tide of medical tourism.