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The Ameyo Adadevoh I knew

The Ameyo Adadevoh I knew
August 20
20:28 2014
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On 19 July, I spoke to Ameyo Stella Adadevoh, the senior Consultant Endocrinologist and Physician, who has just died of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), to schedule a previously agreed medical review. It was a Saturday. We agreed that I would come in the following Monday, July 21.

On 20 July, Patrick Sawyer, the index case now thought to have brought EVD into Nigeria, was admitted into the hospital where Ameyo worked.

On 21 July, I attended the appointment as agreed. She had completed the rounds where she reviewed the cases, including Mr. Sawyer. She saw me shortly after mid-day. As always, it was professional and detailed. Unknown to me, Sawyer was already in the hospital. Unknown to her, he was already terminally symptomatic with EVD. We managed on that day to do my review and, curiously in hind-sight, fit in a conversation about life, death and dying.

As she would herself later narrate with her Chief Medical Director, Dr Benjy Ohiaeri, Mr. Sawyer, on admission “denied having been in contact with any person with EVD at home, in any hospital or at any burial.” So, on 21 July, Mr. Sawyer was being managed for Malaria. He had tested positive for Malaria parasites.

It would take another day before the full possibility would hit home. By then, she’d probably already had fatal exposure to the virus.

But, once she struck upon the possibility that Mr. Sawyer was EVD-positive, Ameyo “immediately isolated/quarantined the patient, commenced barrier nursing and simultaneously contacted the Lagos State Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Health to enquire where further laboratory tests could be performed as we had a high index of suspicion of possible Ebola Virus Disease. We refused for him to be let out of the hospital in spite of intense pressure.” Her suspicions proved correct.

That is Ameyo! If the occasion demanded it, she could be martial with care and sweeping in her command. She had earned her right to calibrated authority.

The consequences could have been unfathomable if Mr. Sawyer had ended up in a General Hospital, for instance. It required someone with her capabilities and pedigree to be able to take the measures needed to firewall Mr. Sawyer and limit the contamination that he would have inflicted. For that, she paid with her life.

Ameyo became a doctor at 25. She had been my personal and family doctor for over 15 years.

Her roots were both deep and grand. She is one of the few Nigerians the face of whose recent ancestor adorns one of our currency denominations. Her Great-Grand Father, Herbert Macaulay, is one of the most celebrated founders of modern Nigeria. Her father was himself a distinguished physician, academic and university administrator of considerable distinction.

Not that any of this mattered much to her. When Ameyo qualified as a doctor in 1981, I was still a kid in High School. Yet, I could get away with calling her “Ameyo”. To many of the children, she was “Auntie Ameyo”. She simply wanted to get things done, and done right.

That was important to her: doing things right. In her field, Ameyo took no prisoners and tolerated no half measures. If you came to her with issues outside her field, she knew the experts to. If you showed up hoping to get worshipped, you were in the wrong shrine.

There was something about her directness, professionalism, commitment to knowledge and curiosity, and irreverence that made Ameyo deserving of respect well beyond the calling of the cloth. She loved her calling and was totally dedicated to it.

When my kid brother died in June 2006, my Dad suffered terribly. She took charge of his management and inspired him to re-discover joie de vivre. While she battled for her life this past week and more, my Mum and Dad in Imo State joined in the legion of Nigerians who prayed and wished for a different ending. Like many people who had passed through her, Dad’s testimony is quite simple: “that woman saved my life!”

Nigeria is lucky that Mr. Sawyer ended up in the care of Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh and the team she led. A less able lead or a less dedicated team could have let itself and the country down.

Unlike many of her peers, Ameyo didn’t play god. Nor did she celebrate not having read any medical journal after Medical School. On the contrary, she knew her specialty and invested heavily in being up to date with the latest journals and skills in it. She was always honest about where the limits of her skills lay and would happily refer cases to colleagues with the requisite specialty whether in or outside Nigeria. She had one heck of a professional Rolodex!

All of us who had the privilege of ever having been managed or attended to by her would testify that this was a professional of exceptional thoughtfulness, ability, diligence, and application. The many colleagues whom she mentored or supported would too. We’ve all lost an outstanding person, support, redoubt, and professional.

Ameyo had one of the sharpest minds you’d ever meet. She was at home discussing experimental physics, molecular biology, public health, lip-stick, the science behind bra-sizes, or different genres of music. She loved life. She was the mother of a son whom she loved more than life itself and lived with a mother to whom she was devoted. The void she leaves behind cannot be filled. They deserve our thoughts, care and prayers.

Because of the circumstances of her passing, there may be no grave to memorialise Ameyo. This is why we must give careful thought to how to do so. We must hold up and celebrate her example of selfless professionalism to the point of death. And, as a people, we must be grateful that someone like her is still in supply in our country.

Ameyo always had the Hippocratic Oath hung in front of her on the left wall in her consulting room, just beside her certificate. I once asked her why? She said if you don’t believe (in) it you shouldn’t be here. She died true to her oath and calling. Our country owes her a debt we can never repay. She was truly and exceptionally special.

Professor Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, the chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, wrote this article for TheCable.

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57 Comments

  1. Folasade
    Folasade August 20, 23:13

    Thanks for letting the world into the world of a most admirable and professional woman. Sad as the circumstances that led to her death is, I consider Nigeria blessed to have had her as a national. Like a friend who lives in Abuja said concerning the action that the late Dr Adadevoh took in not bowing to the pressure to release the lying Patrick Sawyer, the nation would have been in trouble if he did not fall into the hands of a doctor of her calibre. For this and more Nigeria owes the late Dr Adadevoh. She should be given a national burial.

    Reply to this comment
  2. mope
    mope August 21, 02:54

    May her soul rest in peace,oh what a great loss

    Reply to this comment
  3. phoenix
    phoenix August 21, 07:38

    i don’t know her, but i felt such great pain at her loss….just deep inside, maybe cos in about 3 years, i’ll be a doctor as well, maybe cos she looks a little like my aunt… i really wish she pulled tru after her heroic act, but the lord knows best!… may God grant her soul rest and her family. the strength to bear her passing…..it appears. we lost a gem

    Reply to this comment
  4. freefrank
    freefrank August 21, 07:39

    We need people to courageously do the Right thing at all Times; and Dr. Adadevoh has just given Examplarary leadership in this irrespective of her gender.
    We can emulate her in all facets of our lives and be better people with respect & dignity.
    No good deed goes unrewarded! I wish strength & peace whereever she may be to continue her good works!

    Reply to this comment
  5. Benvolio
    Benvolio August 21, 07:59

    From Bishop Ajayi Crowther – To – Sir Herbert Macaulay – To – Prof Babatunde Adadevoh – To – Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh – They all gave their all in the service of Humanity in a completely selfless ways.
    And to compound issue further,Ameyo’s mother survived her, what a painful experience!!!

    Reply to this comment
  6. tina hanis
    tina hanis August 21, 08:16

    What a beautiful tribute,a good testimony which gives me hOpe that in the future of the country.She truly deserves national recognition.Thanks for making her real to thOse who did not knOw her.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Biibii
    Biibii August 21, 08:21

    Indeed Dr.Ameyo is a heroine.Now I understand why they say God is a nigerian.RIP our amazon

    Reply to this comment
  8. Immanuel
    Immanuel August 21, 08:34

    This is what a patriotic person do for her country. She deserve an award for her courageous behavior. Let all our leaders see and know what leadership is all about.she is my hero.may her soul rest in peace. We will forever be greatful.and Nigerians should be grateful to her and her family for her heroic behavior. RIP

    Reply to this comment
  9. Yewande A
    Yewande A August 21, 08:35

    May her soul rest in peace. We thank God for women like her that uphold professional standards and give themselves fully to being a positive influence in all they do. God really used her to preserve the lives of Nigerians. And this is what it means to be a Doctor. You save lives.. God bless you ma. Your memmory and your final act of courage and valor will live on in the hearts of many of us..

    Reply to this comment
  10. Modupe
    Modupe August 21, 09:18

    Thank you for this tribute. May your words about Ameyo inspire us all to do what we know is right to do.

    Reply to this comment
  11. DCalled
    DCalled August 21, 09:35

    What a woman. God bless her and give her rest.

    Reply to this comment
    • Iko Ayuba
      Iko Ayuba August 21, 10:17

      I remember cases of hiv/aids she referred to me in Mil Hospital Ikoyi. She’s wonderful and would be missed by physicians and patients. May her ameable gentle soul rest in perfect peace, in the bossom of our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Adeu Adedavoh

      Reply to this comment
  12. Iko Ayuba
    Iko Ayuba August 21, 10:13

    I remember cases of hiv/aids she referred to me in Mil Hospital Ikoyi. She’s wonderful and would be missed by physicians and patients. May her ameable gentle soul rest in perfect peace, in the bossom of our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Adeu Adedavoh

    Reply to this comment
  13. Ral
    Ral August 21, 10:23

    Nigeria has indeed lost a gem, a strong and beautiful mind. Rest in peace Dr Ameyo, I pray that we will all learn from your examplary professional life – to be the best we can and not cut conners. Adieu amazone of Nigeria, sleep well.

    Reply to this comment
  14. Mami
    Mami August 21, 10:45

    Sharing such an insight on d life of this wonder and remarkable doctor has been such a delight at d same time it saddens me, losing her to such horrific illness. Yet what can I do or say. God gives life and takes life when ever he wants. Yet as a mere reader I feel a sense of heart wrenching grief and I say to my self…..what more of those that know her? My deepest condolences to her family and friends.

    Reply to this comment
  15. Lola
    Lola August 21, 11:17

    Now she has gone but not without saving the whole nation…Our great Amazon,sleep on in the bossom of our Lord Jesus.

    Reply to this comment
  16. Samson
    Samson August 21, 11:24

    Her death no doubt has robbed Nigeria of a thoroughbred professional and a distinguished Nigerian. May you find rest in the bossom of the Lord. Adieu.

    Reply to this comment
  17. kunle
    kunle August 21, 12:08

    May her gentle soul rest in peace with her creator, what a great loss.

    Reply to this comment
  18. RA
    RA August 21, 12:25

    What a great piece! I shed tears reading this tribute. Heartbreaking that 2 great women (Dr’s. Amey0 Adadevo and Dora Akuyili) who fought to save the lives of Nigerians had to fight hard for their own lives before they passed on. It’s just not fair. May their souls rest in peace.

    Reply to this comment
  19. cok
    cok August 21, 12:48

    She was The Doctor of the people,country and the helpless.She believed in service to humanity and God.one shld not be surprised u are the true child of ur fathers-ajayi crowther-maculy- they all sacrificed for this country She must be imnortalized,honoured and be recognized specially in d medical profession.Mandela saved his country in governance,Ghandi in India mutala mohamed and a host of others. I dare NOT compare anybody with chrst, Ameyo u are great,loved,adored and I admired.u are the sacrificial lamb for nigeria that saved us from EVD. U MUST be clebrated, honoured and immortalized.,nigerians wLl not complain if our money is spent to honour this noble woman of substance. Ameyo adadevoh Sleep well in the comfort of ur God and greet ur Ancestors. I C O K bid u a SPECIAL gud night.

    Reply to this comment
  20. Fumsfums
    Fumsfums August 21, 13:08

    Why on earth do we waste our best brains? The two Americans also afflicted are still alive. Makes me wonder about what this government is really up to. Ameyo, your labor of love will not be in vain God willing. May the Good Lord console your son, mother and all those who loved and have lost you. It is a joyful thing to know that you upheld what your family is noted for up till your last days! Adieu sis…

    Reply to this comment
  21. Sylv-adik
    Sylv-adik August 21, 15:37

    Her action and concise dedication to work, with respect to her area of specialization, is a reflection of the dedication that scientists of old exhibited exploration and finding out things. She was no doubt a medical doctor of distinct note; a paragon of knowledge.

    Reply to this comment
  22. angelbimsee
    angelbimsee August 21, 15:46

    oh what a great loss to our dear country. Don’t know her but words said about her brings to the fore that old adage that “the judgement of d dead is in what the living says”. God bless, forgive and rest your soul in his kingdom. Adieu mam, I feel this great loss and hope we all borrow a thing or two from your tribute. Sun re o!

    Reply to this comment
  23. miami
    miami August 21, 16:33

    It is a great loss to the nation at large and a clarion call to all that occupy position of leadership to exercise examplary attitude to the discharge of their duties.Good Attitude to work was at play here and depicted by our dear late Adadevo,as the Holy Quran said every soul shall taste death but it is sad that our heroine has to taste her death in a painful way .§нε̲̣̣̣̥ will forever remembered …

    Reply to this comment
  24. prisca
    prisca August 21, 16:45

    Great eulogy chidi. Thanks for giving us an insight into whom she was. God bless you.

    Reply to this comment
  25. kofkof
    kofkof August 21, 17:24

    God knows best. Rest on rare gem. Love you.

    Reply to this comment
  26. 4Kellz
    4Kellz August 21, 17:45

    She was such an angel. If not, it would have been a terrible thing for this nation cos there would have upto a million cases EVD… May her gentle soul rest in perfect peace

    Reply to this comment
  27. steve
    steve August 21, 18:22

    What a courageous woman and professional. Even if the world (especially Nigeria)forgets you,may rest in the Lord.

    Reply to this comment
  28. otasowie christabel
    otasowie christabel August 21, 19:02

    Before reading this eulogy of Doctor Ameyo,i have been angry.Angry that she would still be alive today if there was no Patrick Sawyer.A colossal loss..I know however that she did what she did to save lives,countless lives if Patrick was not quarantined. She is my hero. She is Nigeria’s hero.The pains,the sadness,mixed emotions i feel are hindering me from writing further. She has left an indelible marks in the hearts of many who understand what she did.A pity that she would be cremated. My pain again.Adieu ma!

    Reply to this comment
  29. Yetdaps
    Yetdaps August 21, 19:37

    She was God sent to deliver us from the lie that Mr Taylor gave. If not for her, what would have happened to the Nigerian people. I cannot imagine it, if she had not informed the authorities.
    God will comfort her mother, siblings and son in Jesus Name, amen.God bless her. May her soul rest in peace, amen.

    Reply to this comment
  30. Ty
    Ty August 21, 19:40

    I salute her and the nurses who lost their lives. They were just doing their jobs and jobs that they loved at that. I hope Nigeria for once does the right thing by immortalizing the medical staff that lost their lives to ebola to ensure that we – Nigerians- have a life.

    Reply to this comment
  31. kunle
    kunle August 21, 19:41

    She deserves a national award for not letting Nigeria into an epidemic.
    May her soul rest in peace. May the good Lord comfort the family.

    Reply to this comment
  32. charles nwatughara
    charles nwatughara August 21, 21:27

    Dear Dr Ameyo Stella Adadevoh,

    I don’t know you and I never met you.

    Also I never met your late illustrious father – Prof Babatunde Kwaku Adadevoh. His tenure as vice chancellor of UNILAG had ended before I came around. But his colourful and no doubt controversial tenure and personality was still in the air at about that time.

    But something in me gave way when I read that you have passed on after battling ebola virus disease courageously for several days.

    Of course I know you will never get to read this ‘love letter’ from an appreciative compatriot. But I wanted it to be on record that someone out there understands that God used you to save the rest of us in a way you yourself never imagined nor anticipated.

    Thank you. Good bye. And a long good nite.

    Reply to this comment
  33. Skenks
    Skenks August 21, 23:31

    The comments about our dear sis and doc is so true!!!
    Wonderful lady who encouraged me in my profession. Will surely her yearly calls on 20th of Dec to book her Xmas lunch she would say ‘l want the nicest things on the menu. ..o ya email me o’
    I hope that our leaders will now take a cue from this lady’s selflessness! !!

    Reply to this comment
  34. felix o
    felix o August 22, 00:22

    We thank God for directing her to Nigeria.But for her, Nigerians would had been in dire straits if Sawyer had gone to any of the hospitals of our political medical practitioners who had little or no time to stay in there clinics or hospitals.May God forgive her sins and grant her eternal rest.Amen.

    Reply to this comment
  35. kayode abu
    kayode abu August 22, 10:05

    Yes she laid her life down as a supreme sacrifice for Nigeria.folasade aneyo,u will lives in our hearts. Adieu

    Reply to this comment
  36. Kemi Adeleye
    Kemi Adeleye August 22, 13:34

    May her soul rest in peace. May the Lord comfort and encourage her family and friends. She should be an inspiration to all Nigerians and humanity.

    Reply to this comment
  37. Amara
    Amara August 22, 14:35

    What a woman. May God reward your sacrifice. Indeed in insisting you saved the rest of us who were oblivious to what was going on. God bless your memory. May the lessons learnt from your example move our great Nation forward. Adieu inf one. God rest your soul.

    Reply to this comment
  38. Betty
    Betty August 22, 14:49

    Dr. Adadevoh is truly a great woman, I knew her at FCMC from 2004 till early this year when I was at the hospital. I will always remember her words to me once in a dire circumstance. Rest on beloved.

    Reply to this comment
  39. Sean
    Sean August 22, 15:32

    I did not know Dr Adadevoh before now, I only know FCMC and I remember hearing that a case of EVD had been identified at FCMC and a friend that had had a baby said to me that if it is Dr Adadevoh that is invovled it must be genuine and not a hoax.But I still did not know who she was and still do not know her personally now, But when I saw her photograph on DP’s that night, I just could not sleep, it was just too sad.I salute her strong character and good values. God bless your son that you have left behind.

    Reply to this comment
  40. Anya
    Anya August 22, 16:41

    What an amazing tribute! Adadevoh….that name rang a bell in my heart when enroute to the US, i learnt that Dr Ameyo Adedevoh had contacted the EVD. I never met her. i dont know her. but i do recall the Unilag VC Adadevoh and sort of connected the dots. i hoped and prayed in ma heart that the US would quickly send a vaccine that would save the life of one who had unrelentlessly and lavishly saved the lives of countless others through her selfless and committed service to humanity and medicine. You know what Nigeria should grant her a post humous award and recognition….this is the ideal people…the standard…the expected!!. But should she not, the Lord is faithful to do even more as she rests in His bosom. All is well! My sincere condolences to her Mother and Son. God bless you! Good night great woman of inestimable value!

    Reply to this comment
  41. Michael
    Michael August 22, 17:22

    I can’t just hold back tears from my eyes as I manage to write. Your Good deeds speaks volume. Dr stella Adadevoh,a heroine of inestimable value,sleep well.RIP.

    Reply to this comment
  42. Bumsie
    Bumsie August 22, 18:17

    What a Courageous woman!my heart goes to her immediate family and close associates.it is indeed painful how everything played out, but I know for sure, God understands, therefore we take solace in Him. RIP Doc.’extraordinaire’!
    Rest on! Rest on!! Rest on!!!

    Reply to this comment
  43. SABITA
    SABITA August 23, 02:21

    a true Heroine, rest in peace!

    Reply to this comment
  44. Duke
    Duke August 23, 03:02

    I prayed secretly for Dr. Ameyo. I wished that help would come quickly. I know she laid down her life for Nigeria. Her generation & generations to come will call her blessed. RIP Ameyo.

    Reply to this comment
  45. ay4great
    ay4great August 23, 06:30

    May God bless her soul, it so sad that we have to lose her this way, but her sacrifice 4 us will not be forgotten. RIP

    Reply to this comment
  46. chefyinks
    chefyinks August 23, 08:19

    Hmmm…
    A true hero
    In midst of mediocrity
    Yet you stood out a Knight in a shinning armour who fourth to shield the nation from darkness
    Dr. Adedevoh, never knew you
    But act of courage shall remain in our heart
    Your name in many years may be far to reach
    But your messianic act of an angel would always be remembered
    Sleep and find comfort at the feet of the Lord
    May your victorious soul rest in perfect peace

    Reply to this comment
  47. emmae
    emmae August 23, 12:58

    She is (not was) a defender of Nigeria and Nigerians, we are all indebted to her.. We must immortalise her name. If not for her I wonder what would have been the fate of all of us (Nigerians ) on the ebola issue.
    Doc, , rest in peace

    Reply to this comment
  48. wummylah
    wummylah August 23, 15:51

    Rest in peace Dr ameyo! You are indeed a national heroine. .I never knew you but I appreciate your courage may the God grant you eternal rest.

    Reply to this comment
  49. Detola Lawore Queens School
    Detola Lawore Queens School August 23, 22:26

    Sister Ameyo was indeed a lovely person……I got to know her, her sister Amah and her Mother way back when I was still in primary school…..

    Despite the age difference she was caring loving and kind to my jnr sister and I ensuring that we had a lovely time during out stay at their place in Lagos. Her Mum and mine were good friends…….. my Mum is late now. As a kid I held u in high esteem and even now I have a sincere respect for your person. U were a person passionately involved in all you setyour heart to do, so iI can understand why u took your oath of office as a doctor seriously. Adieu Ameyo, Rest peacefully in the blossom of Christ. Condolences to the family left behind.

    Reply to this comment
  50. naughty gal
    naughty gal August 24, 05:28

    Naughty gal..that’s what doc use to call me! she saved my life 24 years ago..what an amazing lady…she became more than a sister more than a friend more than words can express!
    I was very fortunate to visit her 1 week before this whole ordeal…We laughed together shared some insights and decided we would have a glass of wine together real soon..All she kp saying to me was’ I am so tired’ nd I told her then we must let our hair down sooner..We both laughed together!
    1 week after the 21st July was my birthday..she called to wish me but I missed her call….2 days after I tried calling her back but there was no answer…I sent her sms after sms…made 3/4 calls a day …no answer. ..There in my heart I knew something had gone wrong…There is no way darling ‘doc’ as I would call her would not acknowledge my call/sms!
    I do not need to say further…’doc’ I will always miss you. ..you not only touched my heart but my entire family too..I shead tears as I write this..’thank you for coming into our lives…Our deepest condolences to her family..

    Reply to this comment
  51. chinedum
    chinedum August 24, 14:42

    Nigerians must honour this woman and hold her in their hearts. The greatest honour they can give her is to try to be more and more like her everyday. Selfless. Not big giants bounds. No, small steps. One day at a time. You might even smile more, greet more, thank God more. One step at a time. Take time to think of the feelings of the next person. Being kind. Doing things even if there is a no reward. Praying, genuinely praying for yr country. Remember her everyday and her kind deeds. She was born to save Nigeria and she died saving her.
    Everything to be said has been said. May God have mercy on her soul, forgive her her sins and send angels to guide her home, as she has ended her mission on earth.

    Reply to this comment
  52. olasavie
    olasavie August 24, 21:39

    The passing of Dr Ameyo is a national tragedy. It got me thinking if I’m doing enough for humanity in my own little corner

    Reply to this comment
  53. Rozie
    Rozie August 25, 08:44

    Dr Adedavoh through professionalism and passion for her job saved our beloved country from this deadly epidemic. Rest on great Doc and condolences to her mother, son and all those who loved her. We sincerely prayed for the FCMC crew but God knows best. Adieu!

    Reply to this comment
  54. Lizzy
    Lizzy August 25, 11:15

    Awesome tribute. God used her to prevent calamity in our nation. Thank you Ameyo for your sacrifice. RIP

    Reply to this comment
  55. Concerned Nigerian
    Concerned Nigerian August 25, 15:22

    Very sad story, highly unfortunate, But dont you think you should be checked out Chidi?

    Reply to this comment
  56. Zizio
    Zizio August 26, 13:10

    I thank God for letting me have the brief encounter I had with this wonderful and selfless woman. There is just no other way to describe her but professional, humane, selfless and kind. She had managed my 74 years old father about 2 years. She reminded him each time we went for check up that life is worth living and is to be lived well. She related so well with everyone regardless of who or what they represent. Indeed Nigeria has lost a heroine, a selfless woman of God.
    May her wonderful soul rest in peace. We love you Dr Adedevoh and God loves you!

    Reply to this comment

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