The death of popular Lagos doctor, Ameyo Stella Adadevoh, no doubt, struck a pain in the hearts of Nigerians. Adadevoh died on Tuesday evening at the Isolation Unit of the Mainland Hospital in Lagos, after being infected with the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) from Patrick Sawyer, the harbinger of the deadly virus to Nigeria. Not only did Adadevoh lead the medical team at First Consultant Hospital that treated Sawyer, she also saved thousands of people from contracting the deadly virus. But for her act of gallantry and selfless service, Nigeria would have been plunged into a near impossible outbreak, one which some West African nations are still struggling to contain since 1976. Her selflessness has earned her heroic status in the hearts of millions of Nigerians.
On July 20, 2014, Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian-American was wheeled in from Murtala Mohammed International Airport to First Consultant Hospital, Obalende, Lagos. He had shown signs of malaria during his flight from Monrovia, and was taken straight from the airport to the hospital. When Sawyer arrived the hospital, the first person he came into contact with was one Dr. Ada. The 26-year-old who would later be infected with the deadly virus by the Liberian-American carrier. Dr. Ada has since recovered from the infection and discharged from quarantine facility.
Sources disclosed that Sawyer told Dr. Ada that he had Malaria. He didn’t tell her he was coming from Liberia where he had been in contact with his sister who died of Ebola. The following day, when Sawyer did not show any sign of recovery from malaria, in spite of the intensive treatment that was given to him, Dr. Ada and her colleagues at First Consultants Hospital became concerned. She then invited her boss, Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh, the Senior Consultant at the hospital, who immediately suspected Ebola and ordered for test. Adadevoh had attended to Patrick Sawyer, and discovered too late that he had been infected with Ebola.
It was gathered that Sawyer insisted on being discharged. Also, the Liberian Embassy mounted strong pressure on the doctor to discharge Sawyer, so he could attend the ECOWAS Summit in Calabar. But Adadevoh, who was aware of the grave consequence of what was on ground should Sawyer leave the hospital premises, stood her ground and refused to discharge the ailing Liberian. Rather, she quarantined Sawyer, commenced barrier nursing and contacted the Lagos State Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Health to notify them of the case at hand.
In one of the hospital’s staff close encounters with Sawyer, he reportedly became restive, dropped his drip bag on the floor and called for assistance. When the nurse came, he told her that he wanted to see the doctor and not the nurse. When Adadevoh arrived, she found the drip bag on the floor. She then assisted him to reset the drip without gloves and protective clothing. This might have been the moment of contact with Sawyer’s fluid. It was in the course of treating him that she had a primary contact with him, and in effect, signed her own death warrant.
Adedavoh was the first doctor and the fourth Nigerian to die from the virus.
She was in coma for some days before she finally succumbed to the disease. The other fatalities were two nurses and an ECOWAS protocol officer. Five other persons who were infected have been discharged from isolation ward, while two other persons are currently undergoing treatment. Friends and well-wishers of the late doctor had launched a campaign for the United States to make the ZMapp experimental drug available for her, describing her efforts at saving the life of Sawyer as “heroic”. However, makers of the drug had announced that they had run out of supplies and it would take months to produce.
Adadevoh, 58, was a Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist, and a member of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the British-Nigerian Association. She obtained an MBBS degree from the University of Lagos Nigeria, as well as a Diploma in Endocrinology from the University of London. A Fellow of the National Postgraduate Medical College, Dr. Adadevoh practiced in the United Kingdom and Nigeria for more than three decades. Until her death, she was the Lead Consultant at First Consultants Medical Centre Lagos.
Described as a very selfless and kind-hearted lady, Adadevoh had a passion for treating many less privileged people, for free. She was a woman of unfailing charm, endowed with a deep sense of responsibility and sharp wit.
Although, Ameyo was born into the illustrious Adadevoh family of Anyako Royal House of Ghana, her family has a long history in Nigeria, running back to the times of Nigeria’s father of nationalism, Sir Herbert Macaulay.
Ameyo’s grandmother, Sarah Adadevoh was the daughter of Sir Herbert Macaulay, the founder of Nigerian nationalism. Macaulay was the grandson of Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther, a Nigerian linguist and the first African Anglican bishop in Africa. He was the most widely known African Christian of the nineteenth century as his life spanned the greater part of it: he was born in its first decade and died in its last.
Ameyo’s father, the late Professor Babatunde Kwaku Adadevoh was a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos; he was one of the most respected metabolic physicians in Nigeria as well.
Ameyo Adadevoh was married to Afolabi Cardoso, a successful Chemical Engineer and respected corporate veteran with noble background. He is from the famous Cardoso of Lagos Island and the brother of Yemi Cardoso, the former Lagos State Commissioner for Budget and Planning during Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s administration. The marriage between Ameyo and Afolabi Cardoso produced a son.
Family sources disclosed that the remains of Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh will be cremated at a very private ceremony.