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Nigerian Born Doctor Leads Surgery on Unborn Baby

Coming at a time when the image of the country is being bashed on the international scene by loads of negative reports about her citizens, Nigerians from all walks of life shelved their tribal and religious differences and rolled out the drums to celebrate a rare feat by one of their own.
Our dear country, Nigeria shone brightly on the global stage as the news broke early in the week of a successful surgery by a team of medical doctors, led by Nigerian-born Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye, carried on an unborn baby at a Texas hospital in the US.
According to medical reports, the unborn baby had sacrococcygeal teratoma, a rare tumour that appeared at the base of the baby’s tailbone. These types of tumours, it is estimated, occur in about one of 40,000 pregnancies, and if left unchecked, could continue taking the baby’s blood supply and eventually cause heart failure.
The baby’s mother, Margaret Boemer, first sensed that all was not well when her ultra-sound technician stayed unusually quiet during a routine 16-week prenatal checkup. Subsequent tests later showed that Boemer’s unborn child was suffering from the rare tumour.
One of the hospitals she visited in Houston, according to reports, “strongly recommended” that she should terminate the pregnancy. The report further had it that the hospitals reasoned that performing open fetal surgery -removing the baby before term in order to operate on the fetus—was too risky.
But Margaret Boemer’s story changed when she got to the Texas Children’s Hospital, where the doctors examined the tumour and gave her some words of hope. Interestingly, two doctors at the hospital, Oluyinka Olutoye and Darrell Cass, had about seven years ago, successfully performed a similar surgery.
Seven years after, Oluyinka Olutoye and Darrell Cass, alongside a team of about 20 others, performed yet another ‘miracle’ when it carried out a successful surgery on the unborn baby to remove the tumour and returned it to the mother’s womb; a feat that has generated global recognition of the baby as the baby born twice.
To carry out the operation on the baby named Lynlee Hope at 23 weeks, Olutoye and his team removed her from her mother’s womb, operated on her and then returned her to the womb where the injuries from her operation healed and she continued to grow until she was born again at 36 weeks.
According to reports, while Olutoye and his team were in the middle of the procedure, the baby’s heart stopped and needed to be restarted. She also required a blood transfusion at a stage.
The Federal Government had set the tone for the celebration when it felicitated with Olutoye and the people of Nigeria on the feat. According to a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, President Muhammadu Buhari received the news of Dr. Olutoye’s unique feat with excitement and fulfillment and looked forward to meeting with him soonest.
“Nigerians are great people, making greater positive impacts in all fields of human endeavour in the Diaspora. Dr Olutoye’s feat is one of such testimonies,” the statement added.
Olutoye, who obtained his medical degree from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, in 1988 before his doctoral degree in anatomy from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA, in 1996, had relocated from Nigeria to the US to seek further educational opportunities.
He said: “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.”
The Ido Ani, Ondo State-born surgeon is a son of Major-General Olufemi Olutoye (rtd) and Prof. Omotayo Olutoye.

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