Gifted Hands, by Ben Carson with Cecil Murphey
Reviewed by Sandra Yaegle, Head of Public Services
This is the heartwarming story an African-American boy, living with his mother and brother in the inner-cities of Detroit and Boston. Growing up in terrible poverty, with poor grades and a horrible temper, Ben Carson nevertheless dreamed of becoming a physician. Inspired by his faith in Christ and encouraged by his mother, he overcame the obstacles in his path and rose to become the head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in 1984, a position he still holds today.
The first part of the book depicts the dedication to study and the drive to achieve that were required for him to make the journey through public schooling, university and medical education, and training as an intern and resident to realize his dream of becoming a doctor.
It is in the second part of the book, however, that we become acquainted with the compassionate heart of Dr. Carson, through the stories of several of his patients and their families. We also learn about significant surgical techniques he pioneered. One surgery of note is the first successful separation of occipital craniopagus twins (twins who were conjoined at the back of the head).
In addition to being an internationally renowned surgeon, Dr. Carson is also known for his philanthropic work. In 1994, with his wife Candy, Dr. Carson founded the Carson Scholars Fund, which awards scholarships to students “who strive for academic excellence and demonstrate a strong commitment to their community.” The Ben Carson Reading Project seeks to encourage a love of reading by creating reading rooms in schools. In 2002 he co-founded the Benevolent Endowment Network Fund to help cover the medical expenses of uninsured patients with complex medical conditions.
Dr. Carson currently serves on the Regent University Board of Trustees.