It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who once said, “To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, is to have succeeded.” For Dr Leo Chuks Egbujiobi, however, hundreds of patients and their loved ones are not only literally breathing easier but also living happier lives and ever full of gratitude for his existence.
Rated as one of the best cardiologists in the United States, Egbujiobi has become a phenomenon of some sort in Beloit, Wisconsin, where he practises. Patients who come in contact with him are often held spellbound by his expertise and professionalism, but more importantly, his uncommon passion and humanity.
Egbujiobi is a qualified pharmacist and medical doctor who specialises in interventional cardiology and internal medicine. He is known to perform some of the most invasive and technical heart procedures for patients. He specifically treats medical and surgical problems, involving blood vessels and organs supplied by the blood vessels (from the head to the toes). He treats acute stroke (by removing blood clot in the brain); heart attack (by removing blood clot in the arteries); aneurysms in the entire aorta, and so on. He is also involved in medical treatment of heart failure, mechanical treatment of heart failure, medical treatment of high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, as well as dealing with the complications of diabetes, hypertension and tobacco abuse on the body.
Not only is Egbujiobi exceptional at what he does as an interventional cardiologist, but his background as a pharmacist has placed him on such a high pedestal of professional knowledge and proficiency that only few of his peers can match. He once explained the special advantage that his dual professional training confers on his practice thus: “Although I specialise in cardiology and practice intervention cardiology, my basic education in Pharmacy has given me excellent foundation in the way I handle and treat patients, as well as in the manner I explain pharmacotherapy to them. Understanding drug actions, interactions, and mechanics of action has provided me with an excellent knowledge base. Moreover, my training as a pharmacist has given me tremendous appreciation on the role pharmacists play in patient care.”
“The world needs more doctors like him!”
Egbujiobi’s commitment to excellent and holistic patient care has become so established that many consider him a living legend. Random reviews and feedbacks from his past and present patients have consistently been very positive and reveal that all are in awe of his professionalism and personality. For instance, unedited reviews about him from RateMDs and Wellness.com – two websites that allow patients to randomly share their experiences with medical professionals – include the following:
“Doc. Leo is, in my eyes, one of those rare doctors. He is very thorough on his diagnosis. My sister had heart failure in November and within a few hours he discovered why and corrected it. Since then, she continues to see and be under his care. He is a very compassionate doctor with deep concern for his patients. I truly wish all doctors could have his morals. I hope if I’m ever in need of a heart doctor, he is still practising. The world needs more doctors like him!”
“Dr Leo, as everyone calls him, is the best! The man must never sleep because he is always there for his patients. He has kept me going when my life span should have ended years ago…”
*“Dr Leo has been my doctor for many years and he was the first to find my heart issue. I trust him with my life…I wish all doctors could be like him. He is so caring and compassionate.”
* “Dr Egbujiobi does a great job listening. He hears what you are saying, and what you are not saying. All clues to his diagnosis. He takes time to formulate a plan and he usually is right on the money. I am very impressed with him.”
With the life-changing impacts that Egbujiobi continues to have on his patients, it comes as no surprise that his acclaim has gone far beyond his Wisconsin base. For instance, when, some years back, the parents of a 25-year-old Nigerian lady battling a congenital heart defect needed foreign expertise to bring relief to their daughter, Egbujiobi’s name topped the list of those they were recommended to consult. Sekyen had been born with patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), a congenital disorder in which an artery fails to close after birth; thus, she had been very ill throughout her young life.
Sekyen’s parents had tried different hospitals in Nigeria but not much could be done to help her, mainly due to limited technology. When she was eventually brought to Dr Egbujiobi and his team, it took only a few hours surgery to correct the defect and Sekyen became a totally changed person. Her father gushed in relief, “If you could go into my heart right now, you could see the happiness overflowing. Our prayers have been answered. My wife and I have endless appreciation for the doctors and the people of Beloit Health System who were able to help my daughter.”
Egbujiobi considers the tremendous transformation that followed Sekyen’s treatment and the joy it brought to her family as one of the most fulfilling highlights of his career.
But it is not only in medical care that Egbujiobi finds fulfilment. He is also a devoted philanthropist, well-known in his United States base, as well as back home in Nigeria. He often comes back to Nigeria to provide medical services, as well as healthcare trainings and consultations, as may be required, for individuals and professional bodies.
In early 2021, he donated a Biosafety level 2 cabinet machine for the testing of coronavirus patients to the Anambra State Government. Much earlier in 2003, he had established the Egbujiobi Family Award for Excellence in Cardiac Care. It is an annual award presented to a Beloit Health System staff member who has demonstrated superior service and leadership in care for cardiac patients.
Background and education
Egbujiobi obtained his primary and secondary education in Nigeria before proceeding to the United States with the view to study Medicine. However, he was told that it would be very difficult to get into medical school at that time due to his background. He then decided to study Pharmacy. He obtained his B.Pharm degree from the University of Boston.
Graduating as one of the most brilliant students, Egbujiobi was made an Eli Lilly Fellow and offered admission to study for a PhD in Phytochemistry in India. However, his medical school application was granted and he chose to enter medical school. He successfully obtained his medical degree and then decided to go for further training in Internal Medicine, for another three years. Thereafter, he went for additional training in General Cardiology for another three years. On completion, he proceeded for another training that enabled him to specialise in Intervention Cardiology. He is currently the head of the Heart Ambassador Hospital and the Beloit Memorial Hospital in Wisconsin.
Award and recognitions
Dr Egbujiobi has received several recognitions and accolades for his professional and altruistic services to humanity. Most recently, he was presented with the Laurence A. Raymer Headliner Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the United States. According to the Beloit Daily News, which gave him the award, Egbujiobi was being recognised for his efforts in building up the cardiac health services in Beloit over the last two decades.
The newspaper said of him, “Since he arrived in Beloit in 1994, he has been at the forefront of Beloit Health System’s efforts to bring new cardiac procedures and treatments to area patients. In the summer of 2007, he worked with cardio-thoracic surgeon Dr. Peter Marks to perform the first open heart surgery (coronary bypass surgery) in Beloit.”
In presenting the award to him, Beloit Daily News editor, Bill Barth said Dr Egbujiobi’s colleagues at Beloit Health System have described him as a leader, an innovator and a motivator who works tirelessly with a distinct goal of providing the best care possible to his patients.