Dr Nathaniel Usoro- Nigerian Pioneer of Bloodless Medicine. Head of Department of Surgery at the University of Calabar
By Ed Keazor
Dr Usoro can be described as the Nigerian pioneer of a procedure essentially over-turning 100’s of years of the belief that transfusions were crucial in Trauma Surgery. This had already been established in Europe and published in Medical Journals dating back to the 80’s. He however was responsible for introducing this to Nigeria, at the University of Calabar.
The procedure, essentially involving replacing Blood with natural protein compounds, which was far more effective and cost-effective. Additionally, it dealt with the religious objections of patients such as Jehovah Witness adherents. Most significantly it countered the growing problem of transmission of infections via untested Blood and the cost-implications of comprehensive testing.
This was done to significant opposition from superiors and peers in the profession, however many years down the line, he has provided an evidence-based case for Bloodless Medicine in Nigeria and indeed raised significant questions about the efficacy of transfusions on a generic basis. Dr Usoro by the way is not a member of the Jehovah Witness movement, his work is based on pure scientific motivation and principle.
I interviewed him and his team at Calabar a while back and it was inspiring to meet this truly understated, hard-working and quietly determined man. For the purposes of this forum, I commend his tenacity in facing up to established professional opposition to his work and prevailing in the face of all that, quietly converting peer opinion and indeed gaining the respect of his colleagues. Here are sample articles that explain his work, since my lack of Medical gravitas is probably evident from this text.