Growing up in Nigeria, Africa, this young man knew that he wanted to become a doctor and immediately after completing his secondary education, Dr Orimeloye attended the Obasemi Awolowo University where he obtained his first degree in medicine. As policy has it, he had to complete one-year compulsory service for the country. Upon completion, he migrated to Jamaica.
In Jamaica he practiced at Southern Regional Hospital in Mandeville for eight years and then at the University of the West Indies for four years. Upon completion, he returned to Southern Regional Hospital for another year before he migrated to Bermuda at King Edwards Hospital where he spent three years before migrating to the Virgin Islands to continue his practice in internal medicine at Bougainvillea Clinic where he has been working for the past 8 months. Of his 20 years in medicine, Dr Orimeloye has been an Internist for seven.
Dr Orimeloye explained, “As an Internist, we take care of all conditions, apart from those that need surgery. We specialise in advance management of the conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, liver dieses, intestinal diseases, etc. We also manage things like stroke and infectious diseases such as HIV and pneumonia. Whatever a general practitioner cannot manage falls into internal medicine. In short, I am the next level above a general practitioner. We use the knowledge of medicine to cure you.”
He realised upon starting at Bougainvillea Cline that many patients know little about internal medicine so spent much of his time educating them about the role of an Internist. When their general practitioner seemed not to be of much help, they started to lose hope. Being a little more knowledgeable, he was able to manage their conditions and alleviate their suffering. As a result, some of those patients have referred other patients to him.
Dr Orimeloye finds medicine to be very interesting and a real joy. With a smile on his face, he said, “You interact with people daily, knowing their medical conditions and sometimes they have very deep secrets that normally they will not tell anybody. So seeing people every day and knowing them so well makes medicine interesting on its own. However, the real joy is being able to treat people to the point of recovery from their illness no matter how sick they were,” he added.
“On the other end, even with modern medicine and how far it has advanced over the years, there are medical conditions that has no cure, so the patient has to depend on medication and our job as doctors is to manage them… those patients with curable conditions of course they like you more than the patients who have to come to see you every day,” he explained.
Dr Orimeloye does not do surgery at this level, but he performs procedures such as colonoscopy, draining of chest fluid, lumbar puncture, etc. He did note that as a junior doctor, he assisted in theatre sessions.
He said that his time here on Tortola has been very interesting. Apart from Hurricane Irma that disrupted almost three months of his time, things were going steady, he has seen many patients in their various conditions, and it has been rewarding. “The patients have been truly grateful because I have been able to make some positive impacts on their conditions,” he added with pride.
Dealing with patients after the hurricanes, he has noticed a difference in their condition due mainly to anxiety. How this translates in internal medicine is that the patient seems to continue to have the symptoms despite the medication because they need to control their anxiety. For example, if the patient has a cardiac condition, anxiety can cause the heart to skip beats. “Therefore, our job is to look out for those symptoms that we know disasters such as what we have experience can bring to these patients,” he said.
“I have also seen patients who are totally paralysed with fear; one in particular stands out because she is so worried with how she will continue with her life after losing everything. Her business, home and car are all gone. Therefore, we have to refer these persons to counselling so we can continue to manage them more effectively,” he recalled. “The good news is, those whom I have seen early, like a few weeks after the hurricanes, are doing much better now,” he added.
Dr. Orimeloye recalled his experiences working through five hurricanes in Jamaica with one being a category four, but they all seemed like a tropical storm in comparison to what he experienced with hurricane Irma/Maria. “I have never seen anything so terribly damaging. My apartment in East End was destroyed, roof, windows and doors all gone,” he reiterated. Because of tradition, he was at Bougainvillea Clinic during the hurricanes. Doctors have to stay at the hospital with their patients in times of disasters. It is much safer for the patient than having to rush them back if something was to happen.
Bougainvillea Clinic like almost every building in Road Town sustained some major damages, but it hopes to be back to pre-hurricane conditions in January 2018.