Professor Oluyinka Olurotimi Olutoye
Prof. Olutoye was born in Lagos to the family of Major General (rtd) Olufemi Olutoye (the traditional ruler of Ido Ani in Ose Local Government Area of the state), and Prof Omotayo Olutoye on January 15 1967. He has five siblings, two brothers and three sisters. It had been his childhood dream to become a medical doctor.
Prof. Olutoye’s quest for excellence began at an early age. As a son of a soldier and an academic mother, he was introduced to a life that placed emphasis on excellence during his formative years. He had his primary education at the Lagos University Staff School and his secondary education at King’s College Lagos.
He received his medical degree (MBChB) from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, in 1988. He was the Valedictorian, in his graduating Class at the Obafemi Awolowo University Medical School. His journey to surgery was influenced by Dr. Christian Bernard who performed the first human to human heart transplant. It was when he read the biography of Bernard that he got to realize that one could carry out a surgery on a fetus and return it to the womb.
After his medical education in Nigeria, he relocated to the United States for further educational opportunities. He started his postgraduate education in paediatrics at the Howard University General Hospital. He received his PhD in Anatomy from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, in 1996. He completed his residency in general surgery at the Medical College of Virginia Hospital, Virginia Commonwealth University, and had his fellowship in paediatric surgery at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University Of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, USA.
He is a member of the International Foetal Medicine and Surgery Society and is a Fellow of the Surgical Section of the American Academy of Paediatrics and American College of Surgeons. He is also a Fellow of the West African College of Surgeons and a certified practitioner by the American Board of Surgery in general surgery and paediatric surgery.
Prof. Olutoye has specialised clinical expertise in foetal and neonatal surgery, with specific interest in congenital diaphragmatic hernia, lung malformation, chest wall deformities, omphalocele, gastroschisis, Nissen fundoplication and complex wounds. His research interests also include understanding the role of the foetal inflammatory response in scarless foetal wound healing, using animal models of congenital anomalies in utero correction of severe congenital malformations, and the study of endothelial-leukocyte and endothelial-tumour cell interactions.
Prof. Olutoye is a beneficiary of the James IV traveling fellowship of the Association for Academic Surgery. The prestigious association of surgeons was established in 1957 for surgeons from around the world to be brought together for exchange of ideas and methods as regards surgery. He was described by the association as someone “who has made outstanding contributions to the art and science of surgery.” Indeed, his success and contribution to Texas Children’s Foetal Centre at the Texas Children’s Hospital Hospital has been phenomenal.
Prof. Olutoye has received much recognition for performing and mastering ground-breaking exit surgical procedure. Exit procedure or ex utero intra partum treatment procedure is a specialised surgical delivery procedure used to deliver babies who have airway compression.
Developed in 1995 at the Children’s Hospital, University of Califonia, San Francisco, the procedure is an extension of a standard classical Caesarean section, where the foetus is partially removed from the mother’s womb to undergo surgery while it is still attached to the umbilical cord. This allows surgeons to repair an airway obstruction or other breathing problems before the baby is delivered and forced to breathe on its own. Prof. Olutoye and his team at the Texas Children’s Hospital have performed over eight of such surgeries.
In February 2015, he was one out of three Nigerian medical doctors that successfully separated conjoined twins in a surgery that made the headlines in the American media and the world. The twins, Knatalye Hope and Adeline Faith Mata, were successfully separated on 17 and 18 February. He and his colleagues are still being celebrated for this feat.
In 2016, Prof Olutoye’s brilliance and gifted hands became a global phenomenon when he led a team of doctors in the surgery that saved a 23-week old foetus from a life-threatening tumour. The team brought the baby (Lynlee Hope) out of the womb at 23 weeks old and removed a large tumor (Sacrococcygeal Teratoma) growing on her tail bone, after which they returned the foetus to its mother’s womb to complete the full gestation period of nine months. This feat has generated a worldwide recognition of the baby that was born twice.
Awards and recognitions
Prof. Olutoye, an alumni of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, has been bestowed with the winner of the 2008 Great Ife Alumni Award for Excellence in the Sciences category, in recognition of his outstanding achievements in the area of human foetal surgery, and exceptional contributions to his chosen career of Medicine. He has also, by this recognition, been inducted into the Great Ife Alumni Hall of Distinction.
His other awards and honours include: 2012 Denton A. Cooley Surgical Innovator Award (Texas Children’s Hospital); Academy of Distinguished Educators (Baylor College of Medicine) Molecular Surgeon Research Achievement Award (Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery); Mark A. Wallace 2014 Catalyst Leader of the Year (Texas Children’s Hospital); and induction into Academy of Distinguished Educators (Baylor College of Medicine).
He is currently the Surgeon-in-Chief at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, United States as well as a Professor of Surgery, Pediatrics, and Obstetrics, Baylor College of Medicine.
In February 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari confereed the Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) Award for year 2020 on Prof. Olutoye for distinguishing himself in the field of medicine.
Prof. Olutoye is married to Prof. Olutoyin Olutoye. The couple have two children, a boy and a girl and they currently live in the United States.
We at DAWN Commission celebrate this uncommon trailblazer and wish him many more success in the field of medicine and service to humanity.