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BY Francis Akhalbey, 11:45am July 02, 2024,

Meet the Nigerian doctor who opened her own emergency room in Houston at the age of 32

Dr. Foyekemi Ikyaator opened her own emergency room at the age of 32 -- Photo Credit: Life Savers Emergency Room

Dr. Foyekemi Ikyaator initially worked in multiple Houston-based emergency rooms before deciding to forge her own career path. Her passion for providing quality healthcare to patients led to her opening the Life Savers Emergency Room – an emergency room in Houston.

In an interview with Voyage Houston, Dr. Ikyaator, who is a board-certified Emergency Physician in Houston and the Medical Director of Life Savers Emergency Room, said she co-founded the establishment with her husband in 2015. She said her spouse has been her “backbone and strength” in their “remarkable journey.”

Per KUT, Dr. Ikyaator opened Life Savers Emergency Room to provide medical care to Houston residents. Life Savers Emergency Room is described as a stand-alone emergency room as it is not affiliated with any hospital. Dr. Ikyaator’s establishment boasts several facilities including an onsite laboratory, radiology equipment, and a pharmacy.

“Realizing a need for emergency care that focused on educating patients, we launched Life Savers ER to the world in 2015,” she told Voyage Houston. “It was a testament to the fact that if you have a dream and your dream has a vision and goal that helps others, it is bound to succeed. At Life Savers ER, we have successfully treated and had a positive impact on thousands of patients.”

Dr. Ikyaator was born in Nigeria and moved to the United States when she was 8 years old. She attended the University of Georgia and graduated with a bachelor’s in Nutrition Science in 2005. She subsequently gained a full academic scholarship to study medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

“I remember my Dad telling me…education is a privilege and I needed to work hard to get a scholarship because we could not afford the tuition,” she said. “Upon graduating, I was residency trained in Emergency Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and am Board Certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine.”

But Dr. Ikyaator experienced some setbacks during her education. She told Voyage Houston that she faced challenges “assimilating” into American culture when she relocated from Nigeria. 

“Being told I did not belong, my accent was weird and feeling different was something I dealt with through my younger years,” she said. “My parents were very supportive and encouraging, always teaching me the value of my education and encouraging me to be proud of my culture. I excelled in school because of their support.”

She also touched on her mother’s death less than two years after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, saying that it was devastating to watch her suffer. “She was incredibly brave,” she recalled. 

“I remember asking to drop out of college to help our family and was immediately told ‘no’. that was not an option. My mother wanted me to succeed and her illness was not going to derail this dream. Her death affected me in such a permanent way. I understand people’s pain on a different level,” she added.

“I know what it means to carry your loved one literally to the restroom or wash their bodies or have to help feed them and give them their medications. I feel a deep empathy for people who are caregivers to the debilitated as well as to the person suffering from the illness. I hope in my daily practice I am able to encourage patients through painful experiences.”

She also revealed that though she faced challenges in medical school and residency, nothing compared to her mother’s passing. “In truth, the experiences in medical school and residency were only fuel for the fire I felt to succeed so that I could be the doctor that helped save people’s lives one day.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: July 2, 2024

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