Birthday: September 18, 1951
Age: 69 Years, 69 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Virgo
Also Known As: Benjamin Solomon Carson Sr.
Born in: Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Famous as: Politician, Former Neurosurgeon
Quotes By Ben Carson
Height: 6'0" (183 cm), 6'0" Males
Spouse/Ex-: Lacena Rustin
father: Robert Solomon Carson
mother: Sonya Copeland
children: Ben Carson Jr., Murray Carson, Rhoeyce Carson
Grouping of People: Black Men
City: Detroit, Michigan
U.S. State: Michigan, African-American From Michigan
awards: United States Presidential Medal of Freedom (2008)
Who is Ben Carson?
Ben Carson, now a retired American neurosurgeon and acclaimed author, was the first man to have successfully separated conjoined twins who were joined at the head. Numerous attempts had been made previously by other physicians, but often one of the babies or both were unable to survive the surgery. Separating twins joined at the head is a highly risky procedure as the conjoined twins often share important blood vessels that if ruptured may lead to the twins’ death. Ben Carson and his team of doctors created history in 1987 by successfully separating the Binder twins, Patrick and Benjamin, both of whom survived and went on to lead individual lives. Today it might seem impossible to imagine that this brilliant neurosurgeon was once a poor student in school. Raised by a single mother, childhood was not easy for young Ben and he seemed poised to get into trouble. His mother Sonya though uneducated herself persuaded her children to study well and guided the boy away from trouble. Under her direction he blossomed into a great student who went to medical school. Eventually he became a world renowned neurosurgeon who specialized in separating conjoined twins. Carson is also the author of several best-sellers and has an interest in politics.
Childhood & Early Life
Ben Carson was born Benjamin Solomon Carson in Detroit, Michigan, on September 18, 1951. He was the second son of Sonya Copeland and Robert Solomon Carson. His father was a World War II veteran, a Baptist minister, but later worked as a laborer at a Cadillac automobile plant. His mother had dropped out of school to get married when she was just 13. His parents divorced when Ben was eight leaving his young mother to fend for herself and her two sons.
The family struggled as Sonya juggled two to three jobs at a time in order to make ends meet. Growing up in poverty, Ben had no interest in studies and was becoming violent. His mother adopted a stricter routine for her sons and made them study harder.
Under his mother’s guidance Ben began to take studies seriously and soon became a class topper. He graduated from Southwestern High School with honors and went to Yale University where he majored in psychology in 1973.
Determined to become a physician he went to the Medical School of the University of Michigan. Here he realized his interest in neurosurgery and specialized in this field, receiving his M.D. from the University.
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Following his graduation from medical school he became a neurosurgery resident at the renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore in 1977. From early on he display great eye-hand coordination and proved himself to be a very good surgeon.
He was invited to join the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth, Australia, in 1983, as Australia at that time did not have enough neurosurgeons with expertise in the field. Though initially reluctant to move so far away from home, Carson accepted the opportunity.
He returned to Johns Hopkins in 1984 and was appointed the director of pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1985 when he was just 33; he also served as a co-director of the Johns Hopkins Craniofacial Center.
He created history in 1987 when he led a team of doctors in a complicated surgery to separate two 7-month-old craniopagus twins. He was consulted for this case from Germany—such was his reputation! He lived up to his image as his team successfully separated the boys.
He was invited to South Africa in 1994 to separate another pair of conjoined twins, the Makwaeba twins. However the surgery was not successful in spite of the surgeons’ best efforts and both the babies died.
A few years later he went to Zambia with his team in 1997 to operate on the Banda twins, Luka and Joseph who were joined at the tops of their heads. The surgery took a grueling 28 hours, but both the boys survived without suffering any brain damage.
He was faced with a huge challenge in 2003—to separate adult conjoined twins, Ladan and Laleh Bijani who were 29 year old Iranian women. Carson along with a team of 100 others performed the complicated surgery which proved to be more difficult than they had imagined. Unfortunately, both the ladies died shortly after operation.
In addition to his career as a neurosurgeon, he has also authored several books including ‘Gifted Hands’ (1996), ‘Think Big’ (2000), ‘The Big Picture’ (2006), ‘Take the Risk’ (2009).
On 4 September, 1987 he became the first neurosurgeon to successfully separate a set of conjoined twins joined at the head. Along with a team of 70 doctors and other medical staff, he led the 22-hour surgery to separate the conjoined twin boys. This was the first surgery of its kind in the world where both the babies survived.
Awards & Achievements
He received the Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards in 2000.
He was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian award in 2008.
He is also the recipient of several honorary doctorate degrees from reputed universities.
Family, Personal Life & Legacy
He met Lacena “Candy” Rustin in 1971 when both were students at the Yale University. They got married in 1975 and were blessed with three sons. Carson was diagnosed with prostrate cancer during the early 2000s, but he has completely recovered.
In 1994, he started the 'Carson Scholars Fund' along with his wife to offer scholarships to school students for “academic excellence and humanitarian qualities.”