Olurotimi Badero is his name and he is the first and only combined heart and kidney specialist in the world. Oh, and he is Nigerian.
Olurotimi is the seventh of nine children to Chief Eliab Olufemi Badero and Stella Taiwo Badero. His name, Olurotimi, is a Yoruba name meaning "God stays with me". Olurotimi started showing academic excellence at an early age, skipping grades in school and eventually attaining a medical degree at Obafemi Awolowo University before relocating to the United States to further pursue his studies.
He completed three years of residency at the State University of New York (SUNY), a two-year fellowship in nephrology and hypertension at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, a three-year fellowship in cardiovascular medicine at SUNY, fellowships in invasive and interventional cardiology as well as peripheral vascular intervention at Yale University School of Medicine and another fellowship in Interventional Nephrology, Endovascular Medicine, and Dialysis Access Intervention at SUNY. He holds 6 speciality board certifications after completing 10 years of continuous postgraduate training, all of which have led to him holding this prestigious title.
“By training, I specialised in internal medicine, cardiovascular medicine, invasive & interventional cardiology, nephrology and hypertension, interventional nephrology & endovascular medicine, nuclear cardiology as well as peripheral vascular interventions. Putting all that together, I would like to think of myself as an interventional cardio nephrologist as well as a peripheral vascular interventionalist,” Olurotimi told Financial Nigeria in an interview recently.
Currently 47 years old, Olurotimi is ranked among the top interventional cardiologists in the United States. As to why he continued getting all those years of education and training (a feat that is also unprecedented), Olurotimi told Financial Nigeria, “While I was in training at Emory University School of Medicine as a kidney specialist… I quickly found out that the commonest cause of death for the patients that died was heart disease and not kidney diseases. And we were doing a great job taking care of these patients but ultimately they died from a disease I didn’t have much control of as I would have loved to. That was a challenge I had to embrace being someone, whose decision to be a physician was to make a difference. I realized it was very difficult for me to make that difference, albeit we were taking care of patients and they were living longer."
“So that set the stage for me to decide if I wanted to explore ways of becoming more effective. I started toying with the idea of going back to specialise in cardiology because I really wanted to get to the bottom of the problem."
In 2011, while working as an interventional cardiologist at Central Mississippi Medical Center (CMMC), Olurotimi performed the first trans-radial cardiac catheterization and percutaneous coronary angioplasty in CMMC history and treated nephrology patients for two years without additional pay. He has achieved numerous awards and recognition for his service to humanity as a doctor including the United States Congressional Citation for Outstanding Medical Career and service to humanity and the Global Excellence in Medicine Award. However, things weren't always so rosy for the doctor.
When he first moved to the US, life was hard for him. He joined his uncle's taxi driving business as a driver to survive and make ends meet while he prepared for exams to enter medical school. “I drove the cab during the day, and I prepared for my exams at night. I did not have money to buy books, but I used the library. I remember a time I had to eat only bread for 3 days. It was tough, I wanted to leave America, but I said come what may I will take that exam. I could not afford remedial classes, and this was an exam of three parts that people fail regularly and normally retake several times. The failure rate then for that exam was about 90%”, he told Nigeriandoctors.
While many laughed at his ambition then, Olurotimi persevered and chased his dreams. “I learnt very early in life that a goal without a plan is only a wish and that there is no testimony without a test. The only time that success comes before work is in the dictionary. I also learnt from my dad the value of hard work, as well as, perseverance and not letting the moments define you but defining the moment by embracing the challenge,” he said.
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