The Great Men's Cross 3: Ben Carson

Ben Carson

Challenges are neither limits nor ends but steps to greatness. They actually cover that big thing we wish we had, but we cow most times, try to run away from them, forgetting we live to die another day. Despite Ben Carson's tumultuous beginning, he stood like a man to arrest his limitations and became the dream of many.

In case you missed The Great Men's Cross 1: Jack Ma and The Great Men's Cross 2: Albert Einstein, please check them now.

Ben Carson: Poor Start, Auspicious End
Benjamin Solomon Carson Sr. was born on September 18, 1951 at Detroit, Michigan. He is currently an American politician, author and former neurosurgeon. He is currently serving under the Donald Trump administration. Carson’s parents married when the father was 28 and the mother was 13. Curtis, Carson’s older brother was born in 1949 when Carson’s mother was 20.

Ben’s Challenges
Carson began his education in 1956 with kindergarten at the Fisher school and he was average in his first three years. In 1959, Carson’s parents separated when Carson was 8 and Carson went with his mother along with his brother. Carson’s mother attempted suicide, had several hospitalizations as a result of depression and later worked as a house cleaner while Carson and his brother attended a two-classroom school.

As a youth, Carson had a violent temper. He attacked people with rocks, bricks, baseball bats and hammers when he was a teenager. He recalled when he tried to hit his mother on the head when they had a clothing dispute and how he tried to stab a friend who only changed the radio station. He later got over these temper problem when he started reading the Book of Proverbs and applying the verses on anger.
Majorly, Carson was very poor academically when he was in high school. At every dictation or class tests, Carson would be in the last position by scoring lowest. The mother on an occasion as a domestic worker stumbled into a man’s library and asked the man if read the hundreds of books she saw and the man replied, I do. This made her think it is also possible for Ben and Curtis. On getting home, she switched off the T.V. while Ben and his brother watched and made a timetable of how they would read for the week, including finishing at least two textbooks a week.

Ben and his brother did and they started getting better. This got to a point when Ben saw a type of rock, picked it up and took to the library for study. This made him identify the rock in a class and everyone marveled when nobody else could answer. That was how Ben broke through the class and also led his class despite his mother not well-read and couldn’t ever read.

The hustle
When Carson graduated from high school, Carson took up odd jobs like clerk, supervisor of people picking trash, assembling parts, crane operator and as a radiology technician. He also had a part-time job on campus as a student police aide.

Medical School
After high school, Carson got admitted into Michigan Medical School in 1973 and struggled academically, had very poor scores and the student adviser asked him to drop out of medical school. He continued and struggled and he improved to average in his first year. By the second year, he began to excel by developing a method that works for him; rarely attends lectures; but studying the lecture notes and textbooks from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. He eventually graduated in 1977.
Carson proceeded to John Hopkins University School of Medicine neurosurgery program, where he served as a surgical intern for one year and a neurosurgery student for five years and completed the final year as a chief resident in 1983. He further spent a year (1983-1984) at the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Nedlands, Western Australia as a Senior Registrar in neurosurgery.

When Carson was at John Hopkins in 1984, he was appointed the university’s Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery. He specialized in brain injuries, brain and spinal cord tumors, achondroplasia, craniosynostosis, epilepsy, neurological and congenital disorders and trigeminal neuralgia. Recounting what made him a gifted surgeon, he said that he has a hand-eye coordination and three-dimensional reasoning.

When he was at John Hopkins, he revived the hemispherectomy, which was a drastic surgical procedure in which all or part of one hemisphere of the brain is removed in order to control severe pediatric epilepsy. He refined the procedure and used it many times.

The Siamese twins
In 1987, Carson was the lead neurosurgeon in a 70-member surgical team that separated a conjoined twins (Siamese twins), Patrick and Benjamin Binder, that were joined at the back of the head (craniopagus twins). The separation surgery was auspicious because the twin boys had separate brains. If the risk had not been taken and the surgery had not been done, the babies would not be able to crawl, talk or walk.
From the reports by the Washington Post, separation of the Siamese twins brought Ben Carson to limelight, launched him to stardom and he walked out of the operating room into a light that has never dimmed.

Groundbreaking achievements
Carson served as the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at John Hopkins Hospital in Maryland from 1984 until he retired in 2013. Other achievements include;

  • Carson performed the only successful separation of conjoined twins that are joined at the back of the head (Separation of the Siamese Twins)
  •  He also pioneered the first successful neurosurgical procedure on a fetus that is inside the womb
  • He performed the first successful separation of type-2 vertical craniopagus twins
  • He developed new methods that are now used to treat brain-stem tumors
  •  Finally, He revived hemispherectomy techniques for controlling seizure
From these unrivaled achievements, he became the youngest chief of pediatric neurosurgery at age 33. He also received more than 60 honorary doctorate degrees, national merit citations and wrote more than 100 neurosurgical operations. In 2008, he got the highest civilian award in the United States, that is, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Leave when the ovation is loudest
One important part of great is that they know when to leave and they leave when the ovation is loudest. This is also similar with Ben Carson. In March 2013, Ben Carson announced that he would retire as a surgeon. In his words, ‘I would rather quit when I’m at the top of my game’.
Remember, it is not how far, but how well. The distance covered doesn't matter if the mission is accomplished.

While you fought your challenges like a man and always won all battles, don't forget to leave when the ovation is loudest...
Please share the article and the link, leave comments and check other articles.

Post a Comment