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Dr. Oluyemisi Fowode-Adeyemi ’04

2004 Grad With Nigerian Team in Challenging Conjoined Twins Surgery

Dr. Oluyemisi Fowode-Adeyemi ’04 was part of a 24-person surgical team that undertook the separation of 10-month-old conjoined twins at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.   

Fowode-Adeymi was one of three United States-based Nigerian doctors to participate on the team – a detail that drew attention from the Nigerian press as well as considerable pride from the Nigerian community in the United States. 

The Feb. 17-18 surgery lasted nearly 26 hours, with Fowode-Adeyemi serving in her role as a pediatric and adolescent gynecologist fellow at Texas Children’s. 

From Nigeria’s independent daily The Guardian to medical blogs around the world, news sources noted the significance of the event.

“It is a blessing to be part of a team that can help improve the lives of these two children. Now, they have the potential to live a happy, normal life,” Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye told the The Guardian. Like Fowode-Adeymi, the pediatric surgeon is of Nigerian heritage. He served as one of the team’s lead members. His wife, Dr. Toyin Olutoye, served in her role as anesthesiologist.

Fowode-Adeyemi says, “It is a great privilege to be in the field of medicine. Patients trust you with their well-being, even as they lie unconscious. My approach is the same for any surgery. I want the best for my patients; success for me is defined by the patient feeling that they are better coming out of surgery than when they went in. In terms of managing stress, I trust in God and believe that, through me, he can make miracles happen, I was put here for a purpose and having that knowledge puts me at ease and allows me to focus on the task at hand.”

In total, 12 surgeons, four anesthesiologists and eight nurses took part in the surgery to separate infant twins Knatalyne Hope and Adeline Faith Mata. (Pictured on our cover: Knatalye and Adeline before their surgery. Photo courtesy Allen S. Kramer, Texas Children’s Hospital.) The babies shared several organ systems, including a diaphragm, pelvis, lungs, intestines and heart lining.

The surgical team consisted of pediatric surgeons, cardiovascular surgeons, plastic surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, pediatric urologists, pediatric and adolescent gynecologists, and anesthesiologists, along with nursing and operating-room personnel. Fowode-Adeyemi says the team met regularly for more than nine months to plan for the surgery. A simulation of the surgery was also performed in advance to make sure all surgeons and O.R. staff were communicating effectively and were on the same page about the care plan. 

April 7, 2015