Gifted Hands by and about Ben Carson, M.D., is the inspiring story of an inner-city kid with poor grades and little motivation, who, at age thirty-three, became director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University Hospital.
Gifted Hands will transplace you into the operating room to witness surgeries that made headlines around the world, and into the private mind of a compassionate, God-fearing physician who lives to help others. In 1987, Dr. Carson gained worldwide recognition for his part in the first successful separation of Siamese twins joined at the back of the head — an extremely complex and delicate operation that was five months of planning and twenty-two hours of actual surgery, involving a surgical plan that Carson helped initiate.
Gifted Hands. The twins had received 50 units of blood, but their bleeding still hadn’t stopped! “There’s no more type-specific blood,” the reply came. “We’ve used it all.” As a result of this announcement, a quiet panic erupted through the room. Every ounce of type AB* negative blood had been drained from the Johns Hopkins Hospital blood bank. Yet the 7-month-old twin patients who had been joined at the back of their heads since birth needed more blood or they would die without ever having a chance to recuperate.
This was their only opportunity, their only chance, at normal lives. Their mother, Theresa Binder, had searched throughout the medical world and found only one team who was willing to even attempt to separate her twin boys and preserve both lives.
Other surgeons told her it couldn’t be done—that one of the boys would have to be sacrificed. Allow one of her darlings to die? Theresa couldn’t even bear the thought. Although they were joined at the head, even at 7 months of age each had his own personality—one playing while the
other slept or ate. No, she absolutely couldn’t do it! After months of searching she discovered the Johns Hopkins team.
Many of the 70-member team began offering to donate their own blood, realizing the urgency of the situation.
The 17 hours of laborious, tedious, painstaking operating on such tiny patients had progressed well, all things considered. The babies had been successfully anesthetized after only a few hours, a complex procedure because of
their shared blood vessels. The preparation for cardiovascular
Gifted Hands reveals a man with humility, decency, compassion, courage, and sensitivity who serves as a role model for young people (and everyone else) in need of encouragement to attempt the seemingly impossible and to excel in whatever they attempt. Dr. Carson also describes the key role that his highly intelligent though relatively uneducated mother played in his metamorphosis from an unmotivated ghetto youngster into one of the most respected neurosurgeons in the world.