There are few people in my life that I have known for a short period, who have had so great an impact on my life, inspired me, encouraged me and helped me to mold my professional life; amongst them was Dr. Sam Mutooru Muhumuza, a senior professional colleague I called my true friend and mentor, who was there when I needed someone most.
Today makes it exactly one month since the death of one of the most brilliant and selfless surgeons that walked the ground of Liberia, Dr Sam Mutooru Muhumuza. There is a myth amongst the younger doctors that senior consultants are reluctant to share their knowledge and skills with the junior ones in the attempt to avoid competition when they become qualified but Dr. Muhumuza commonly known as Dr. Sam was an outstanding exception.
I first met Dr. Sam in February 2013 when I came for my elective term from the University of Nairobi (Kenyatta National Hospital). I was then assigned to Redemption Hospital to do my surgical rotation. That was where I met two very kind and brilliant surgeons, Dr. Sam Mutooru Muhumuza from Uganda and Dr. Jules Claude from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The selflessness, hearts to help, and willingness to teach exhibited by these young surgeons, and my burning desire to learn on the other hand became an unbreakable bond between us. Under their guidance I learned more than I ever thought I could within a very short period. They pushed me to my limits asking me either to assist or independently perform assortment of surgical cases and usually said to me “…you have to be perfect before leaving from here because one day we will leave Liberia and you are the one to represent us using the skills we have transferred to you”. Little did I know that that day would come sooner than later. Dr. Jules left due to reasons beyond his control. However, the selfless, and kind hearted Dr. Sam who stayed behind, unfortunately became a victim to Ebola during the course of duty which he refused to quit.
Dr.Sam worked at the Redemption hospital as if it was his private clinic, treating every sick as his relative and every staff as sister or brother. He constantly made recommendations to the administration to improve the institution.
He usually had a joke for me “…Wow!!!! Now I have the opportunity to tutor a University of Nairobi student, all the works in this department will be allocated to you”. My response usually was ‘check the listing of high-ranking universities in Africa you will observe that the University of Makerere your alma mata falls far below the University of Nairobi’.
He was a good surgeon, a good friend, a good man and a role model for many others and me. Today our good Samaritan is no more. It will therefore not be out of place for the College of surgeons of Liberia and Uganda to form a Mutooru Association that bridges the two sisters’ institutions as he was born in Uganda and buried in Liberia.
Our prayers for the repose of his soul and condolences to the wife his family friends and five beautiful children he left behind.