Sunday, November 6, 2016 11:17 pm
By Oluyinka Olutoye
I am truly humbled by all the attention that our medical feat has received. It is a 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. It is a blessing to be able to care for families like the Boemers in their time of need.
We should not forget that these brave parents are the ones who did not give up on their child but sought to do all they could to improve her outcome. They deserve the focus and attention. For me to be caught up in all this excitement is only by the grace of God.
I obtained my medical degree from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, in 1988 before my doctoral degree in anatomy from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA, in 1996, when I finally relocated to the US to seek further educational opportunities.
At the completion of my medical education in Nigeria, I realised that I read about a lot of different aspects of medicine that I didn’t have the opportunity to be exposed to locally. I therefore sought further educational opportunities in the United States.
I had a wonderful childhood. I was born in Lagos and grew up with two loving parents, (Major-General (rtd) Olufemi Olutoye, OFR and Prof. Omotayo Olutoye); three sisters (Dr. Bunmi Okanlami, Funke Olugboji, ‘Toye Gansallo) and two brothers (Air Commodore (rtd) Dr. Femi Olutoye, Dr. Segun Olutoye); grandparents, numerous cousins, uncles and aunties.
It was, and still is, a wonderful loving environment. We were all taught the importance of hard work and a solid education, and most importantly, the fear of The Lord. I hail from Ido-Ani in Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State, and my father is the Alani of Ido-Ani, Oluwatomiloye the 1st.
The quest for excellence was introduced at an early age. I attended elementary school at Lagos University Staff School and subsequently King’s College Lagos. The character and friendships established in those formative years have endured to date.
I proceeded to Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife for my medical education at the Faculty of Health Sciences. There I met my beautiful bride (Prof. ‘Toyin Olutoye, nee Balogun) who is an anesthesiologist. We are blessed with two children. I had further training at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, prior to seeking additional training in the USA.
In the USA, I started my post-graduate medical education in pediatrics at Howard University and District of Columbia General Hospital. I then had my general surgery training at Virginia Commonwealth University Hospitals, Richmond Virginia, during which I took time off for research and obtained a Ph.D in Anatomy from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Following my training as a general surgeon, I sought additional training in pediatric, fetal and thoracic surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. I then took up a faculty position at Baylor College of Medicine and, with my colleague, Dr. Darrell Cass, established the Texas Children’s Fetal Center at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston Texas. I always wanted to be a medical doctor. Despite the deluge of negative stories about Nigerians back home, Olutoye and many other Nigerians in the Diaspora have continued to do great exploits in their host countries. According to Olutoye, such feats are possible when they have access to resources and infrastructure.
Nigerians are a talented people. If they decide to apply themselves, they can achieve much. When they then have access to resources and infrastructure, they can attain even greater heights.
To our youths, do the best you can with what you have where you are. To quote Eleanor Roosevelt, the grass is not always greener on the other side. Look before you leap.
Given the global attention the feat may have attracted to me and my colleagues at the Texas hospital, such glory should be given to God. I am the same person I was before. It is not about me. I give God all the glory.
Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye led a team of medical doctors, to carry out a successful medical operation on an unborn baby at Texas Children’s Hospital in the US. The unborn baby had sacrococcygeal teratoma, a rare tumour that appeared at the base of the baby’s tailbone.
Credit: The Nation