This post is in response to a question posted by one of my Teens, Sammy K. On 2go. But I feel that you too, yea, YOU can learn a thing or two from the story of Dr Carson. Sammy K, I hope this helps? Enjoy.

NAME: Ben Carson
OCCUPATION: Surgeon, Philanthropist,
BIRTH DATE: September 18, 1951 (Age:
EDUCATION: Southwestern High
School, Yale University, Universty of
Michigan Medical School, Johns
Hopkins University
PLACE OF BIRTH: Detroit, Michigan
more about Ben
Ben Carson overcame his troubled youth
in inner-city Detroit to become a gifted
neurosurgeon famous for his work
separating conjoined twins.

Ben Carson was born in Detroit,
Michigan, on September 18, 1951. His
mother, though undereducated herself,
pushed her sons to read and to believe in
themselves. Carson went from being a
poor student to receiving honors and he
eventually attended medical school. As a
doctor, he became the Director of
Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins
Hospital at age 33, and became famous
for his ground-breaking work separating
conjoined twins.

Early Life
Benjamin Solomon Carson was born in
Detroit, Michigan, on September 18,
1951. The second son of Sonya and
Robert Solomon Carson, Ben grew up in
the hardened climate of inner-city
Detroit. Ben’s mother was raised in
Tennessee in a very large family. She
dropped out of school in the third grade.
With not much hope or prospects in life,
she married Baptist minister Robert
Carson when she was 13, believing that
he would change her life. The couple
moved to Detroit, Michigan, and for a
time, the marriage was a success. Carson
showered his wife with gifts and
attention. But over time, Robert Carson
changed. Though benevolent, he could
also be domineering and erratic. In time,
Sonya felt it was best for her sons if she
and Robert divorced.
Influential Mother
Ben was 8 and Curtis, Ben’s brother, was
10 when Sonya was left to raise the
children on her own. The family was
very poor, and to make ends meet Sonya
sometimes took on two or three jobs at a
time in order to provide for her boys.
Most of the jobs she had were as a
domestic servant. There were occasions
when her boys wouldn’t see her for days
at a time, because she would go to work
at 5:00 a.m. and come home around
11:00 p.m., going from one job to the
Carson’s mother was frugal with the
family’s finances, cleaning and patching
clothes from the Goodwill in order to
dress the boys. The family would also go
to local farmers and offer to pick corn or
other vegetables in exchange for a
portion of the yield. She would then can
the produce for the kids’ meals. Her
actions, and the way she managed the
family, proved to be a tremendous
influence on Ben and Curtis.
Sonya also taught her boys that anything
was possible. By his recollection many
years later, Ben Carson had thoughts of a
career in medicine, though it was more of
a fantasy many young children harbor as
they grow up. Because his family was on
medical assistance, they would have to
wait for hours to be seen by one of the
interns at the hospital. Ben would listen
to the pulse of the hospital as doctors and
nurses went about their routines.
Occasionally, there’d be an emergency
and he could hear in people’s voices and
in their quick movements the pace and
emotions rise to meet the challenge. He’d
hear the PA system call for a “Dr. Jones”
and fantasized that one day they’d be
calling for a “Dr. Carson.”
Early Education
Both Ben and his brother experienced
difficulty in school. Ben fell to the bottom
of his class, and became the object of
ridicule by his classmates. He developed a
violent and uncontrollable temper, and
was known to attack other children at the
slightest provocation.
The poverty he lived in and the difficult
times he experienced in school seem to
exacerbate the anger and rage.
Determined to turn her sons around,
Sonya limited their TV time to just a few
select programs and refused to let them
go outside to play until they’d finished
their homework. She was criticized for
this by her friends,
who said her boys would grow up to hate
her. But she was determined that her
sons would have greater opportunities
than she did.
She required them to read two library
books a week and give her written
reports, even though with her poor
education she could barely read them.
She would take the papers and review
them, scanning over the words and
turning pages. Then she would place a
checkmark at the top of the page showing
her approval.
At first, Ben resented the strict regimen.
While his friends were playing outside,
he was stuck in the house, forced to read
a book or do his homework. But after
several weeks of his mother’s unrelenting
position, he began to find enjoyment in
reading. Being poor, there wasn’t much
opportunity to go anywhere. But between
the covers of a book he could go anyplace,
be anybody and do anything.
Ben began to learn how to use his
imagination and found it more enjoyable
than watching television. This attraction
to reading soon led to a strong desire to
learn more. Carson read books on all
types of subjects and found connections
between them. He saw himself as the
central character of what he was reading,
even if it was a technical book or an
encyclopedia. He read about people in
laboratories, pouring chemicals into a
beaker or flask, or discovering galaxies,
or peering into a microscope.
He began to see himself differently,
different than the other kids in his
neighborhood who only wanted to get
out of school, get some nice clothes, and a
nice car. He saw that he could become
the scientist or physician he had dreamed
about. Staying focused on this vision of
his future helped him get through some
of the more difficult times.
Within a year, Ben Carson was amazing
his teachers and classmates with his
improvement. The childrens’ books he
read while he was confined to quarters
now had relevancy in school. He was able
to recall facts and examples from the
books and relate them to what he was
learning in school. In 5th grade, Ben
astonished everyone by indentifying rock
samples his teacher had brought to
As he recalled several years later, he
began to realize that he wasn’t stupid.
Within a year he was at the top of his
class, and the hunger for knowledge had
taken hold of him. It wasn’t easy in the
predominantly all-white school, though.
After Ben received a certificate of
achievement at the semester break, one
of the school’s teachers berated the white
students for letting a black student get
ahead of them academically.
Ben also had several teachers along the
way who expressed a strong interest in
his success. After he demonstrated his
proficient knowledge of rocks in his 5th
grade class, his teacher asked Ben to
come by the school’s lab after classes
ended for the day.
There Ben found squirrels to feed and a
tarantula to observe. He discovered the
wonders of using a microscope to study
water specimens, and learned about
paramecium and amoebas.
Later, at Southwestern High School in
inner-city Detroit, his science teachers
recognized his intellectual abilities and
mentored him. Other teachers helped
him to stay focused when outside
influences pulled him off course.
After Ben graduated with honors from
high school, he knew he wanted to pursue a medical
career. But because his mother was not
financially well off, Carson had to work
through most of his time in college. The
automobile industry was facing a
downturn in Detroit during the 1970s,
making it tough to get a summer job.
But Carson was determined to achieve his
goals. He knocked on doors looking for
summer work and usually, through
persistence, was able to obtain one. From
this work, and a scholarship, he attended
Yale University and earned a B.A. degree
in psychology.
Anger Issues
Despite his academic successes, Ben
Carson still had a raging temper that
translated into violent behavior as a
child. One time he tried to hit is mother
with a hammer because she disagreed
with his choice of clothes. Another time,
he inflicted a major head injury on a
classmate in a dispute over a locker. In a
final incident, Ben nearly stabbed to
death a friend after arguing over a choice
of radio stations.
The only thing that prevented a tragic
occurrence was the knife blade broke on
the friend’s belt buckle. Not knowing the
extent of his friend’s injury, Ben ran
home and locked himself in the
bathroom with a Bible. Terrified by his
own actions, he started praying, asking
God to help him find a way to deal with
his temper. He found salvation in the
book of Proverbs in a passage that went,
“Better a patient man than a warrior, a
man who controls his temper than one
who takes a city.”
Ben began to realize that much of his
anger stemmed from putting himself in
the center of everything. Anytime
anything happened that was not to his
liking, he internalized it and made it his
problem. Once he took himself out of the
equation, he could see that not
everything was directed at him and that
he wasn’t the only one with troubles.
He began to see things from other points
of view. He soon realized he could control
his anger, rather than it controlling him.
He realized his future depended on the
choices he made and the degree of energy
he put into his life. Seeing that living in
the inner city was only temporary,
Carson believed he had the full power to
change his situation.
Beginning Surgical Career
After graduating from Yale in 1973,
Carson enrolled in the School of Medicine
at the University of Michigan, choosing to
become a neurosurgeon rather than a
psychologist. In 1975, he married
Lacrena “Candy” Rustin whom he met at
Yale. Carson earned his medical degree,
and the young couple moved to
Baltimore, Maryland, where he became a
resident at Johns Hopkins University in
1977. His excellent eye-hand coordination
and three-dimensional reasoning skills
made him a superior surgeon early on.
By 1982, he was chief resident in
neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins.
In 1983, Carson received an important
invitation. Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital
in Perth, Australia, needed a
neurosurgeon and invited Carson to take
the position. Resistant at first to move so
far away from home, he eventually accepted the offer. It
proved to be an important one. Australia
at the time was without enough doctors
with highly sophisticated training in
neurosurgery. Carson gained several
years worth of experience in the year he
was in Australia and honed his skills
Carson returned to Johns Hopkins in
1984 and, by 1985, he became director of
pediatric neurosurgery at the young age
of 33. In 1987, Carson attracted
international attention by performing a
surgery to separate two 7-month-old
craniopagus twins from Germany.
Patrick and Benjamin Binder were born
joined at the head. Their parents
contacted Carson, who went to Germany
to consult with the parents and the boys’
doctors. Because the boys were joined at
the back of the head, and because they
had separate brains, he felt the operation
could be performed successfully.
On September 4, 1987, Carson and a team
of 70 doctors, nurses, and support staff
joined forces for what would be a 22-
hour surgery. Part of the challenge in
radical neurosurgery is to prevent severe
bleeding and trauma to the patients. In
this operation, Carson had applied a
technique used in cardiac surgery called
hypothermic arrest.
The boys’ bodies were cooled down so the
blood flowed slower and bleeding was
less severe. This allowed the surgeons to
perform the delicate task of untangling,
dividing and repairing shared blood
vessels. Although the twins did have
some brain damage, both survived the
separation, making Carson’s surgery the
first of its kind.
Separating Conjoined Twins
In 1994, Carson and his team went to
South Africa to separate the Makwaeba
twins. The operation was unsuccessful, as
both girls died from complications of the
surgery. Carson was devastated, but
vowed to press on, as he knew such
procedures could be successful. In 1997,
Carson and his team went to Zambia in
South Central Africa to separate infant
boys Luka and Joseph Banda. This
operation was especially difficult because
the boys were joined at the tops of their
heads, making this the first time a
surgery of this type had been performed.
After a 28-hour operation, both boys
survived and neither suffered brain
Over time, Ben Carson’s operations began
to gain media attention. At first, what
people saw was the soft-spoken hospital
spokesperson explaining the complicated
procedures in simple terms. But in time,
Carson’s own story became public — a
troubled youth growing up in the inner-
city to a poor family eventually finding
Soon, Carson began traveling to schools,
businesses and hospitals across the
country telling his story and imparting
his philosophy of life. Out of this
dedication to education and helping
young people, Carson and his wife Candy
founded the Carson Scholars Fund in
1994. The foundation grants scholarships
to young students and promotes reading
in the younger grades.

Biggest Medical Challenge
In 2003, Ben Carson faced what was
perhaps his biggest challenge: separating
adult conjoined twins. Ladan and Laleh
Bijani were Iranian girls who were
joined at the head. For 29 years, they had
literally lived together in every
conceivable way. Like normal twins, they
shared experiences and outlooks, but as
they got older and developed their own
individual aspirations, they knew they
could never lead independent lives unless
they separated. As they told Carson at
one point, “We would rather die than spend another
day together.”
This type of medical procedure had never
been attempted on conjoined adults
because the outcome would almost
certainly result in death. By this time,
Carson had been conducting brain
surgery for nearly 20 years and had
performed several craniopagus
separations. He tried to talk the two
women out of the surgery, but after
many discussions with them and
consultations with many other doctors
and surgeons, he agreed to proceed.
Ben Carson and a team of more than 100
surgeons, specialists and assistants
traveled to Singapore in Southeast Asia.
On July 6, 2003, Carson and his team
began the nearly 52-hour operation. They
used a 3-D imaging technique that Carson
had developed several years earlier
during the Banda twins operation. The
computerized images allowed the
medical team to conduct a virtual surgery
before the operation. During the
operation, they followed digital
reconstruction of the twins’ brain. A
specially designed chair allowed the
operation to be preformed while both
sisters were in a sitting position.
Besides the girls age, the surgery revealed
more difficulties because their brains not only shared a major blood vessel, but had fused together. The separation was completed at 1:30 p.m. on July 8. But it was soon apparent that the girls were in deep critical condition, having both lost a large volume of blood due to the complications of the surgery.
At 2:30 p.m., Ladan died on the operating table. Her sister, Laleh died a short time later at 4:00 p.m. The loss was
devastating to all, especially Carson, who found some solace in the fact that the girls’ bravery to pursue the operation had contributed to neurosurgery in ways that would live far beyond them.

Later Career
In 2002, Carson was forced to cut back on his break-neck pace after developing prostate cancer. He took an active role in his own case, reviewing X-rays and consulting with the team of surgeons who operated on him. Carson fully recovered from the operation cancer-free. The brush with death caused him to adjust his life to spend more time with his wife and their three children, Murray, Benjamin, Jr. and Rhoeyce.
Carson still keeps a busy schedule,
performing nearly 300 operations a year and speaking to various groups around the country. He has written three books include the autobiography Gifted Hands (1996). The other two works, The Big Picture (2000) and Think Big (2006), are about his personal philosophies on
success, hard work and faith in God.

Because of his unflagging dedication to children and his many medical
breakthroughs, Carson has received more than 50 honorary doctorate degrees and is a member of the Alpha Honor Medical Society, the Horatio Alger Society of Distinguished Americans and sits on the boards of numerous business and education boards. In 2001, CNN and Time magazine named Ben Carson as one of the nation’s 20 foremost physicians and scientists. In that same year, the Library of Congress selected him as one of 89 “Living Legends.” In 2006, he received the Spingarn Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the NAACP. In February 2008, President Bush awarded Carson the Ford’s Theater Lincoln Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the U.S. highest civilian honors. In 2009, actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. portrayed Carson in the TNN television production Gifted Hands.

That’s it Sammy.


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