Black history month day 22: Renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson.
Benjamin Solomon “Ben” Carson Sr. was born in Detroit, Michigan on September 18, 1951. When he was eight, his parents separated and he moved with his mother and brother to his mother’s sister’s home. Carson’s mother struggled with severe depression, resulting in several psychiatric hospitalizations and an attempted suicide. She was however very involved with her sons’ education, limiting their time watching television and requiring them to read and write book reports on two library books per week.
Carson had dreams of being a doctor since he was eight. He did well in school and scored very highly on the SAT for the Detroit school district. When it came time to choose a college, he narrowed the choice between Harvard or Yale, but could only for the $10 application fee for one school. He chose Yale after seeing them win a televised G.E. college bowl against Harvard. He received a full scholarship. Later he attended medical school at the university of Michigan and was excepted into the neurosurgery program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Carson was the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland from 1984 until his retirement in 2013. He was indisputably a pioneer in neurosurgery, his achievements including performing the only successful separation of conjoined twins joined at the back of the head, the first successful neurosurgical procedure on a fetus inside the womb, and the first completely successful separation of type-2 vertical craniopagus twins. He also developed new methods to treat brain-stem tumors and improved techniques for controlling seizures. At age 33 he became the youngest head of pediatric neurosurgery in the country. He has written over 100 neurosurgical publications and received numerous accolades, including over 60 honorary doctorate degrees, dozens of national merit citations, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.