Benjamin Solomon “Ben” Carson, Sr., (born September 18, 1951) is a columnist and retired American neurosurgeon. He is credited with pioneering work on the successful separation of conjoined twins joined at the head. In 2008, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush. After delivering a widely publicized speech at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast, he became a popular figure in conservative media for his views on social issues and the federal government.
Carson was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Sonya , a Seventh-day Adventist; and Robert Solomon Carson, a Baptist Minister.His parents were both from rural Georgia.At 8, his parents divorced and he and his 10-year-old brother, Curtis, were raised by their mother. He attended Southwestern High School in Southwest Detroit, and graduated from Yale University, where he majored in psychology. He received his M.D. from the University of Michigan Medical School.
Carson was a professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery, and pediatrics, and he was the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. At age 33, he became the youngest major division director in Johns Hopkins history, as director of pediatric neurosurgery. He was also a co-director of the Johns Hopkins Craniofacial Center.
According to Johns Hopkins Hospital literature, “Dr. Carson focuses on traumatic brain injuries, brain and spinal cord tumors, achondroplasia, neurological and congenital disorders, craniosynostosis, epilepsy, and trigeminal neuralgia. He is also interested in maximizing the intellectual potential of every child.”
Carson believes his hand-eye coordination and three-dimensional reasoning skills made him a gifted surgeon. After medical school, he became a neurosurgery resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Starting off as an adult neurosurgeon, Carson became more interested in pediatrics. He believed that with children, “what you see is what you get, … when they’re in pain they clearly show it with a frown on their face or when they are happy they show it by smiling brightly. ”
In 1987, Carson became the first surgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins, the Binder twins, who had been joined at the back of the head, making them craniopagus twins. The 70-member surgical team, led by Carson, worked for 22 hours. At the end, the twins were successfully separated and can now survive independently.