First Female Heart Surgeon, Mgbajah Ogadinma, makes history as she becomes the first female cardio-thoracic surgeon in West Africa.
According to Ogadinma, she didn’t realize there had not been a female heart surgeon in the field when she decided she was going with her desire to solve problems related hearts, only for her to know this when her examiners and lecturers pointed it to her during the course of her training that she might be the first female cardio-thoracic surgeon in West Africa.
Ogadinma revealed in a tweet that it took her about 7 years to complete the training to become a cardio-thoracic surgeon while she visited about 3 continents in the process.
She captioned the tweet,
“Very long journey, 7 years plus, three continents! #heartsurgery #first female heart surgeon in West Africa!”
— Ogadinma Mgbajah (@OgadinmaM) May 12, 2016
According to an interview with Diaryofanaijagirl.ng, Ogadinma said she was almost discouraged by friends and family from pursuing her dream of becoming a heart surgeon.
“I didn’t start off planning to be the first Lady Cardio-Thoracic Surgeon in West Africa. I can tell you I got discouraged by everybody from medical school. Even my uncle said to me “you’re a woman, don’t you want to have a family?”. But I stuck to it and forged ahead
My residency was difficult because that was when I got married and had kids. In the midst of all that, people wondered “Is she serious at all? How can she take care of the home front and focus on her residency at the same time?” But I tell people all the time, it is doable. I am only human and I did it.
There are a lot of expectations being a female cardiac surgeon but it’s all worth it when you operate on someone’s heart (for example) and the person comes out fine. I can’t tell you how much fulfilment that brings to me
My advice to women who want to join me in this field is “pace yourself”. You are not in a competition with anyone so don’t be in a hurry to finish in record time and in the process not get proper training
I say this to women all the time, don’t decide on what you want to do based on your gender. Figure out a problem and ask yourself if you have the capacity to solve it, if the answer is no, ask again, can I build the capacity to solve it? If the answer is yes, then go for it! Your biggest limitation is yourself”
The great lesson here is to always believe that whatever you set your mind to do, you CAN achieve success!”
Ogadinma, who got her degree from the University of Ibadan, practised at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital.