Dr. Ben Carson

 

BOB ABERNETHY, anchor: We have a report today about one of the most prominent pediatric neurosurgeons in the world: Dr. Ben Carson. He’s probably best known for his surgeries to separate conjoined twins. Carson talks about his work and his Seventh-day Adventist faith in a new book out this month called TAKE THE RISK. Kim Lawton reports.

KIM LAWTON: Ben Carson knows a lot about risk. As one of the leading pediatric neurosurgeons in the world, Carson makes life and death decisions nearly every day, and he has gained international fame for his work separating twins joined at their heads. Carson believes risk can be a good thing. But he says most Americans are obsessed with security.

Dr. BEN CARSON (Pediatric Neurosurgeon, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions): A lot of people simply don’t realize their potential because they’re just so risk adverse. They just don’t want to take the risk.

LAWTON: Carson is a committed Seventh-day Adventist. He says when he makes his own risk assessments, he seeks guidance from God.

Dr. CARSON: I pray before I go into the operating room for every case, and I ask him to give me wisdom, to help me to know what to do — and not only for operating, but for everything.

Dr. Ben Carson

LAWTON: Faith and risk have defined Carson’s life, both personally and professionally. He directs pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, Maryland. In addition to his work with conjoined twins, Carson has pioneered surgical techniques to stop seizures. Not bad for a kid from inner-city Detroit whom many people would have written off.

Dr. CARSON: I was definitely an at-risk kid growing up. You know, my parents got divorced early on. My mother only had a third-grade education, was illiterate, worked as a domestic two to three jobs at a time because she didn’t want to be on welfare. I was considered the dummy in the classroom when I was in 5th grade, and I just didn’t believe that I could do the work, so I engaged myself, you know, by creating disturbances.

LAWTON: His mother, Sonya Carson, prayed for wisdom on how to help her two sons. She mandated that they write two book reports a week for her.

Dr. CARSON: Not knowing she couldn’t read, I mean, she would highlight and checkmark and stuff, and we’d think she was reading them. But she could always discuss them with you. She said, “Let’s talk about your book report.” It only really took a month maybe before I started to enjoy the reading. Something happened. I got to the point where I couldn’t wait to get home and read my books.

LAWTON: He began seeing a future for himself. But Carson says he faced another challenge — his explosive temper. He was often getting in fights. Then, when he was 14, he tried to stab a friend but the knife blade hit the boy’s belt buckle.

Dr. CARSON: It dawned upon me at that moment I was trying to kill somebody over nothing, and, you know, I locked myself in the bathroom and I just started thinking about it and I said, you’re not going to accomplish your dream of becoming a doctor; you’re going to end up in jail or reform school or dead.

LAWTON: He says he prayed for God’s help and then picked up a Bible, which opened to the Book of Proverbs and verses about anger. He believes God took away his temper and enabled him to become a surgeon. Carson still reads from the Book of Proverbs every day. He says it is part of his spiritual preparation for surgery.

Dr. CARSON: My strong belief is that God created human beings and therefore he knows about every aspect of the human body. So if I want to fix it, I just need to stay in harmony with him.

LAWTON: For Carson, surgery is often a spiritual experience.

Dr. CARSON: When I look at the human brain I’m still in awe of it. Every single time you lift off the bone and open the durra, and there it is, the human brain, the thing that gives a person a personality, that distinguishes each one of us. I don’t particularly like, you know, cutting the brain. It’s such a beautiful thing, why cut it? And I’m not even sure I like surgery. But I like what it does.

LAWTON: Seeing the mechanics of the body, he says, has taught him about the non-tangible aspects of life.

Dr. CARSON: We are more than just flesh and bones. There’s a certain spiritual nature and something of the mind that we can’t measure. We can’t find it. With all our sophisticated equipment, we cannot monitor or define it, and yet it’s there.

LAWTON: Carson has had many high-profile cases. In his new book, TAKE THE RISK, he describes one of the toughest decisions of his career. In 2003, he was asked to be part of a surgical team trying to separate 29-year-old Iranian twins whose skulls were fused together. The surgery had a less than 50 percent chance of success. Carson was reluctant, but then he met Ladan and Laleh Bijani.

Dr. CARSON: They said, “Doctor, we would rather die than spend another day together.” And, you know, that kind of takes you aback. But then I put myself in their place and I said what if you were stuck to the person you liked the most in the world 24/7 and you could never get away from them for even one second? And I realized what they were going through.

LAWTON: He ultimately decided to be part of the controversial surgery, which took place in Singapore.

Dr. CARSON: It became very clear as time went on that they were going to go through with the operation whether I helped or not. So at that point, you know, I started thinking there’s not a very good chance of success here, so I’d better go and help, because if they die I’m going to wonder for the rest of my life if it could have turned out differently if I would have helped.

LAWTON: Despite his help, after more than 50 hours of surgery Ladan died, and then Laleh died 90 minutes after that.

Dr. CARSON: I always say if God didn’t allow any bad things to happen, we would already be in heaven, and we are not there. That’s where trust and faith comes in. You just say, “Lord, I don’t understand it. But one thing I do know is that you understand it and that you are in control and I trust you.” And that’s the end of the story.

LAWTON: At 56, he says he has seen many miracles, too. It’s tough to keep up with him as he visits his many patients in the pediatric intensive care unit. His staff calls this the “lightning rounds.” And despite the pace, there’s always time for a personal word with the patients and a hug from grateful families. And he has been forced to face his own mortality. In 2002, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. After treatment, Carson says he’s now cancer-free.

Carson tries to have an impact outside the operating room. In 2004, he was appointed to the President’s Council on Bioethics, and Carson has become a vocal advocate for health insurance reform.

Dr. CARSON: I see the insurance issue, the coverage of people for health care in our country, as a huge moral issue. And, you know, for the richest country in the world to have 47 million people without health insurance is ridiculous.

LAWTON: One of Carson’s greatest passions is encouraging education, especially for at-risk kids. He and his wife have started a national scholarship program called the Carson Scholars Fund.

Dr. CARSON: If we can take young people who excel at the highest levels, put them on the same kind of pedestal as the all-state basketball player and the all-state football player, and begin to get the same kind of recognition, it will have a profound effect, and we are finding that it does.

LAWTON: He admits one big danger for neurosurgeons can be developing a God complex.

Dr. CARSON: You’re going into these incredibly delicate places that control who people are, and you’ve got to have a fair ego to think you can do that. But for me personally, I realize where it all comes from. All the good things come from God. I can’t really claim any of them, and I just feel privileged that I was dealt a measure of the healing arts.

LAWTON: Faith may be a risk, he says, but it’s the best risk of all. I’m Kim Lawton in Baltimore.

  • Corinn

    i would just like to say how personal this article is for me as Dr. Carson is getting ready to do surgery on my 3 yr old daughter. We arefrom MA where the #1 childrens hospital is and NO ONE could help her!!! She is in a VERY dangerous situation and he is going to save her life. This article is so reassuring of that fact. I appreciate his tenacity to not give up and support me as a single mother. I AM SO GRATEFUL

  • Emmanuel Amankwah from Ghana

    Dr.Carson is a great man.I practise his set out believes in think big daily.God bless his family

  • JDW

    This article is personal to me also! i love Dr. Carson! i am from the Detroit area and know how it is growing up..CORINN u are so lucky! i’ trying to get in contact with Dr. Carson now..i have a 9year old sister who was diagnosed with Epilepsy at age 5 after being born normal…if you can, please ANYONE help me contact him..i’d really appreciate it! god bless!

  • Prossy

    Dr. Ben CArson is my inspiration. I never managed to find that one person i can honestly call my role model, and would give anything to set my eyes upon, until i read “Gifted Hands”! Now i browse and research high and low to know more about his life!I love his faith in God and when i do get kids, my prayer is that they suceed at being “BEN CARSON”. God bless him!

  • Pateil

    Dr. Carson is a great individual and his life story is truly inspiration in terms of what he had to go through to get to where he is at now. And the amazing thing is that he is so humble about that because of his firm belief in God. He is truly a great role model for teens everyday and if every American started to practice some of his beliefs then we can truly rise to become the great nation that we once were.

  • Racheal Nawafi

    I really blessed about your ministry and I pray God will continue to bless you and your family.

  • Devis

    Dr. Ben is none but a role of young proffesionals. Am proud of him and God who made him the way he is today.

  • Michael Happy Basikoro

    i am praying to God to see Dr. Carson before the lord calls him.He has changed my thinking;everything about me.Sometimes i asked myself that if a man created by God can do this why cannot I?

  • Michael Happy Basikoro

    I am from Nigeria,I am not rich but i managed to buy all Ben Carson’s book even to the lastest one “take the risk”.all his book have touched me so much that i think of B.Carson just as I as think of Jesus Christ everyday.I prayed that I get married to a woman that has the quality of Sonya Carson or do better. Ben Carson!thank you alot

  • Mbacham Sharon B-E

    I am form Cameroon and I read your book on Think Big which was such an inspiration.I am a young Medical student in Cameroon and you are an inspiration Sir.It will take me three more years to finish Med school and there after get into Specialty .I thank the Almighty for people like you who give us that courage to go through.I wish and hope you could be my supervisor in my specialty that is I wish to do Paediatrics that is Neuropaediatrics.I will be grateful if granted this opportunity Sir.I have got lots of things to say but I will reserve for some time soon.God bless you much Sir and once more thankyou so much.

  • Judy

    Happy Birthday Dr Carson. Thank God for your life. I am a pediatrician and I use your biography to show teenagers what their potentials might be. Happy birthday aGod bless

  • aslıhan

    he is a perfect.

  • regina

    i have seen the movie “gifted hands”, the true life of doctor carson, and i was amazed in his works and how devoted he is in caring for patients…
    i realized that i should be like him..do my very best in my studies to become a future nurse.. i salute you and thank you for being our inspiration here at the university of northern philippines

  • maureen shufa

    YOU ARE A MIRACLE TO MANY AND MY ROLE MODEL TOO,GOD BLESS YOU ALWAYS

  • Y. T. Bioh

    Dear Ben,
    I do not know how it has taken me so long to come across your book “Think Big” I like reading and get inspiration from people like you. You make us proud and you have added to beam of light that shines on Africans. Even though you are an African American, I have not heard much about your charity activities or other forms of developental support in Africa especially Ghana where most African/Americans trace their ancestral roots.

    I would like to know if you have any future plans to help Africa in area of Health or Educational Support for the people of Africa.

    Thanks

  • Leatrice Driver

    This is not a comment,but a plea to reach Dr.BEN
    Carson my Family member have a Tumor in her head
    we are troubled,but that God is able.Leatrice

  • Darlette Ambrose

    To God be the glory for the great things he hath done. Dr. Carson you were the commencement speaker at ODU graduation ceremony on 12/19/2009. You would not believe how I praised God when I found out you were speaking. I read Gifted Hands around 1980 and you were such an inspiration to me then as you are today. It was predestined for you to be the commencement speaker on the day that I received my M.S.ED. I even had the privilegde of shaking your hand, which was a life long dream of mine. I will always remember how humble you are and how much faith you have in God! May God continue to bless you and I am encouraged to take risks.

  • James Acquah

    In this time of man’s history, when many young people are only thinking of making it without sweat,it is a great pleasure to know that Gods principles for mankind: “HARD WORK and DEPENDENCE ON HIM” stand out as the keys to your success.Dr Carson, God bless you and continue to be a blessing to our world.

  • Louie b,brandon

    He is a honorable man and he does mircales.

  • Emumwen Osazee Amos

    Your Publications are a companion to me most especially the most recent-Take The Risk.Am not ungrateful for that scintillating publication.You admonished me to leave the comfort zone so that i could eschew living a life inside the envelope.i have always been in a daze all my life owing to my paternal indifference from childhood.my dad divorced mum when i was jut 5 and my younger brother-kenneth, 2yrs old.In senior carson’s case, he left home stealthily but in my own case, father left us with the conventional wisdom that- ‘i have given birth to them so, they should fend for themselves’.You are a stimulant.You are my mentor. I have set my mind to read medicine and become a consultant in neurosurgery and aviation medicine.Although, for now,i have lost myself into meenial jobs with great abandon. i know for sure that if Jehovah wills, i will have a date with history, as an accomplished brain surgeon.Am a Nigerin and one of Jehovah witnesses.May jehovah keep you Dr. Ben.You are not only a mentor to me, but also a father. U are, because, of your timely admonitions.If jehovah wills, the ugly duckling will be a beautiful swan very soon.Please, Dr. Ben Carson, continue to inspire me and countless others.

  • Emumwen Osazee Amos

    I have a lot to say about the erudite Dr. Carson because he is a repository of knowledge.

  • Gee

    I am lost for words about Dr Carson. WOW. He is an amazing peson. I hope i get to meet him one day. Bless! Love for the way he is raised too.

  • BonnieRiley

    What a wonderful man.. My God Bless you and your Family, hope to meet him one day… My son is 20 and he really enjoyed reading the Gifted Hands and now my other son is 11 and tomorrow he will be reading this book as well…..

  • rhodah moraa

    dear Dr, Carson
    you are a wonderful man and many including myself will live to remember and thank God for you forever.you are an inspiration and a source of hope for many and may God bless you and your family for what u have done and continue to do…………………..

  • alberto muenho.

    greetings in jesus christ iam alberto muenho dear iam an Adventist member iam fatherless my mother died during the war in angola now iam refugees here in namibia please ineed your help ihave been accepted at andrews university dear my mother she is widow please dear idont have the deposit money and the ticket money please ineed your my semester start next year at andrews university iwould like to study medicine please ineed your help. iam lookingforward to hear from you. and god bless your good office.

  • Edeh Clement

    From the very first time I heard of his book “Gifted Hands”. After reading the book I know that God is with him and his family. Dr. Ben Carson is my role model. I cherish him a lot. More Power to his elbow!

  • EMUMWEN OSAZEE AMOS

    Dr. Carson, Am awfully Sorry For The Long Silence. I did say sometime ago, that you are one of those erudite scholars with great versatality that I model my life on. And, as I send you this mail am gathering all the financial currents that I will use to catapult myself to become a neurosurgeon like you.The uncertainties in the real world have taught me that If there is no pain there is no gain. Having suffered in life owing to the abrupt financial collapse of MUM, Your boy is now in the employment of an indigenous oil and gas servicing firm in Nigeria. Doc. the NEUROSURGEON Isee is the NEUROSURGEON I will be. Please, My Mentor, don’t fail to inspire me with you scintillating publications. I have read TAKE THE RISK back to back and I have whetted my appetite for more. When I read your strengthening Books am having the opportunity to have real intercourse with a superior mind like you. Dr. Carson, you are a revigorating oasis. You have shown to us from a humble background that we will become what we want to become in life if and only if we BELIEVE in it.

  • Richard Banter

    Dr Carson
    Am very impressed by the countless excellent things you have done. Miracles during Jesus time was the best testimony that you have brought forward to mankind in this modren yet sophisticated era, what a wonderful job you have done. Many a times while in Church I’ld share your inspiring work especially the Hands of God, how your life was at young age until you reached the most highest level of human to save life…I tahnked God for that. You have inspired many throughout the world especially we, the Adventist are very proud of you…you are the Living Example that God’s gift and talent being fully utilized.
    Am very interested to be part of your Carson Scholarship foundation applicants as my daughter is doing her final year doing her undergraduate for Bio-Science at one of our local university and interested to do her master level. Would you kindly reply to my email as addressed above. We are Adventist in the Island of Borneo, Sarawak Malaysia.

  • Alireza ansari

    IN THE NAME OF GOD
    SALAM!(HELLO! MEANS)

    I hope that will be successful your work .

    The GOD helps your.(If we help to others)

    with best regard
    sincerely yours
    Alireza ansari

  • Hanieh Argani

    Hello doctor.I hope you been achived success throught your life.I`m an Iranian 16 year old girl and I enjoyed to know more about your AMAZING LIFE after I watched your life`s movie on TV.

  • EMUMWEN OSAZEE AMOS

    Dr. Carson, Goodafternoon.
    Please, when anytime soon will your newest publication get to people like me?
    I have been whetting my appetite for it. That, as it may, please, advice me on the best neurosurgery and neuroanatomy textbooks.Presently, I read INDERBIR SINGH’s neuroanatomy.
    May Jehovah remember you for good.

  • Ria

    Happy Blessed Sabbath my brother Carson.
    I have read your life’s journey since childhood. And I’m collecting stories. My daughter aged 17 years is very interested in reading it. Stand firm in your faith Carson.
    God is good.
    God bless you.
    Your sister in Christ

    Ria- Indonesia

  • Maria Elena

    Dr. Carson,

    I have never known you in real life, but I have read a lot about you, and I wanted to tell you just how much I admire you. I admire your faith in God; I admire what you do, and I admire who you are. The world is extremely lucky to have you as a neurosurgeon, and we are lucky to have you in this world. You’re an inspiration to us all.

    With my deepest respect,
    Maria Elena
    Italy

  • israel Hadassah

    Hi,

    I am just another curious fan who adores Dr. Ben Carson. I just lost my father on February,18,2011 to Prostate cancer. What can I say? I am grieving right now. …
    Dr Carson I just want you to know that you are very fortunate and blessed. My father did not make it. His prostate cancer spreaded through his bone, heart and brain. I really want you to know that your story has been a inspiration to me. I am nobody. I fasted and prayed for my father to get well. I can’t understand it but I accept that he is in a better place. … I hope to speak to you soon or maybe God will allow me to be interviewed by you. I am in need of a job and I would love to finish nursing school. My desire is to preach the word of God. Prayer will always find me on my knees. God Bless you. Thankyou for the book.

  • EMUMWEN, Osazee Amos

    My mentor, Dr Ben Carson, please pardon me for the long silence. At this juncture, I want to apprise you of my willingness to tie the nuptial knot on 8th october, 2011, in Benin city, Edo state, Nigeria. On the said date, I will be accepting and responding to the divine invite at Gen 2 vs 24. Am apprising you of this to demonstrate my willingness in having you in Nigeria, to be of one the guests that will spice the occassion for us- KONYE and OSAZEE.
    Please, Doc., revert to me upon reception of this wedding invite.
    Please treat as urgent.
    If there is any scope for me to deliver that will fast track your visa application, please do not fail to apprise me of it. This invite, is an eloquent testimony of my undying love for you and your wonderful family. On the aformentioned date, JOAN AMUELE-KONYE and me, will be joined together by JEHOVAH.
    Please, you are cordially invited. Am on +234 806 274 5980.
    Thank you and God bless.
    Doc., an honor it is to have you in attendance.

  • Steve Patrick

    I truly love to read about Dr. Carson. He’s background about school proves God’s faithfulness. God bless him. I would not mind to know where i can get the movie “Gifted Hands”and how I can reach him for counsel because my best friend has some sort of seizure and we’ll be needing his input.

  • Pete, from Indonesia-Manado

    DR CARSON, you are a man of God
    I pray that God continually bless you in serve His people and serve Him.
    You are a role model of a faith person, you are God’s right and left hand hands on this world
    God bless you and your family.
    I love you in name of our master Jesus Christ

  • Adejoke “Loye

    You have proved to your creator that you can be depended upon. You take a trip of destiny with him and you never derail. You will never derail so thAT HE CAN ENTRUST YOU WITH MORE MYSTERY OF CREATION. BRAVO! MON FERE GRAND

  • christine

    thanks so much Doctor may the lord bless the work of your hands ,am a single mum of two and i bel;ieve i can make it if your mum did so will i coz christ that lives inside us is more powerful than any creature in this world.may the lord give you hundred years to leave.

  • Mbahotu Emmanuel

    hi am from nigeria i really want to be like you you are my mentor i wish i could contact you some how heres my number 08068777055 mbahotu emmanuel i am really weird i am 14 in a university

  • Mbahotu Emmanuel

    hi ben carson

  • Milly Matini-KENYA

    Hi Doctor Ben,i dont know what to say really.Do i blame my gullible nature or something?All this time i have been knowing that you died,am sorry to say.I remember questioning God why He had to take such a beautiful soul from us.Shedding tears in my devotions for the great person this world had lost but then today i read that you are still alive.How do i react….?shocked and cursing myself of how gullible i am.Doc am glad you are alive and still you will be.May Almighty God grant you more years so that through you lives are saved.AMEN

  • Prudencia – Zambia

    Hi Doctor Carson, you really inspire me a lot. When i read THINK BIG I learnt a lot. May God richly bless you and your family.

  • Lilian Sentimenti

    I am very grateful to my Creator because He created you to help others and inspire each one of us when we learn about the wonderful work you perform through Him.

    With all my Christian love to you and all your family. What an example is your mother, also the woman the Lord chose for you. I would like to read about your brother too.

    What a wonderful day when JESUS returns and we can meet each other.

    Many blessings