Meet the Nigerian Doctor Who Performed Radical Surgery on an Unborn Baby
Photo Credit: Still shot via Texas Children's Hospital

Meet the Nigerian Doctor Who Performed Radical Surgery on an Unborn Baby

Dr. Oluyinka O. Olutoye is a trailblazer who has done what most doctors can’t.

In 2016, the Nigerian fetal and pediatric surgeon operated on a baby-in-utero at a Texas Children’s hospital. According to MyNaijaInfo, Olutoye and his partner, Dr. Darrell Cass, co-led a team of 21 doctors to remove a sacrococcygeal teratoma, a large tumor from the baby’s tailbone.

CNN reports that the mother, Margaret Boemer, went in for a routine ultrasound at 16 weeks that revealed the rare birth defect. At 23 weeks, she and her baby, named LynLee, underwent a five-hour fetal surgery. To safely remove the tumor, the surgical duo removed the baby from the uterus for 20 minutes. Then, they placed LynLee back into the womb for the remainder of the gestation period, after which she was born healthily.

Following his role in a groundbreaking surgery, Olutoye was appointed Surgeon-In-Chief at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the U.S. He now leads one of the largest children’s hospital surgery departments in the world, says Face2Face Africa.

“This is a very opportune time to be joining the organization as we build upon the already impressive success of our surgical services to help children around the country and increasingly around the world,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to the privilege of leading and collaborating with this team in the next phase of our journey.”

In 2019, Dr. Olutoye was appointed as professor and the E. Thomas Boles chair of pediatric surgery at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, according to Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Before his current title, the medical trailblazer earned his medical degree from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, then received his Ph.D. in anatomy from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond in 1996.