Department of Clinical Pharmacoloy and Therapeutics, University College Hospital, Ibadan.
Professor Isaac Adetayo Grillo was born on January 15, 1931, in Lagos. He had both his elementary and secondary school education at Baptist Academy, Lagos. His autobiography recorded that he excelled brilliantly at the school. He earned the Doctor of Medicine at the University of Kansas in 1960. He completed his residency training in General Surgery and Cardiothoracic Surgery, passing the American Board of General Surgery and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery examinations in 1966 and 1967 respectively. He returned to Nigeria in 1968. Of particular note, Professor Grillo led a team that performed the first open heart Surgery in Nigeria by a group of all Nigerian Doctors and Nurses in 1978. He lived an illustrious life. Always wanting to excel and do his very best, he became Nigeria’s most famous Cardiothoracic Surgeon during his time. Professor Grillo passed on after a brief illness on the 4th of April, 2022.
Dr. O.S. Michael
Dept. of Clinical Pharm. and Therapeutics,
University College Hospital,
PROFESSOR ISAAC ADETAYO GRILLO
(1931 – 2020):
Prof. Grillo made significant contributions to Cardiothoracic Surgery in Nigeria. At the University College Hospital, Ibadan, he set a track record worthy of a man of talent and excellent training. He led the team that performed the first open heart surgery in Nigeria by a group of all Nigeria Doctors and Nurses. His publications include over 80 peer review articles, chapters in published books, and his autobiography titled “Great wonders from His Hands unto our hands’” an account of his practice of Surgery.
In retirement, he spent his days at his quiet residence at the Ikolaba estate, Ibadan. He enjoyed moments with members of his family and colleagues who often paid him visits. At a time, August 1990 to November 2003, his Ikolaba home provided accommodation for a Church (New Haven Baptist Church) and a place of prayer. Professor Grillo attended the Oritamefa Baptist Church, Ibadan, on Sundays where he played the violin as a member of the Choir. He made himself available as counselor on many matters, especially to young couples. A visit to his home always included his taking the visitor to his study stacked with books on surgery and other specialties of medicine. He meticulously kept the original prints of his publications in neatly stacked photograph film boxes. He spent time describing the many passions and moments that led to his publications, one after the other. I was fortunate to have had the privilege of spending some days with him in his study. During those days, I sat with great interest and quietly listened to him as he talked about his publications.
Professor Grillo’s astute memory remained unchanged all through his last days. Every minute with him was a memorable experience. A man whose command of English was extraordinary, conversations with him were like sitting and watching movies laced with high quality imagery. His words flowed smoothly into very colorful scenes. A great man of academics, he had many words to describe the need for the revamping of higher institutions, medical schools, and teaching hospitals in Nigeria. He was a great surgeon, mentor, teacher, healer, friend, and parent. He loved music as much as he loved Cardiothoracic Surgery. Professor Grillo passed on quietly after a brief illness on the 4th of April, 2022.
At the evening of tributes in his honor, held on Wednesday 29 June, 2022 at the Paul Hendrickse Lecture theatre, the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, the following citation and tributes were read.
By Prof. S.O. Ogunlade, Head of Department, Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan