Ben Carson is praised for being a brilliant neurosurgeon.
Wikipedia lists his accomplishments as, “He has performed the only successful separation of conjoined twins joined at the back of the head. He pioneered the first successful neurosurgical procedure on a fetus inside the womb, performing the first completely successful separation of type-2 vertical craniopagus twins, developing new methods to treat brain-stem tumors, and reviving hemispherectomy techniques for controlling seizures. He became the youngest chief of pediatric neurosurgery in the country at age 33. In 2008, he was bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.” In 2009, the movie Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story aired on TNT and he was played by Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. However, what you might not know is that Carson was sued for malpractice several times.
According to a 2015 story from The Daily Beast, he was hit with eight malpractice claims in Maryland, according to the Maryland Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office. There could be more in other states, but The Daily Beast was only able to confirm those in Maryland. On one of the lawsuits, the Daily Beast reports, “Maryland resident Mary Perna sued Carson and Johns Hopkins University on behalf of herself and her husband, Steven. According to the claim, Perna was suffering from multiple sclerosis and by October of 1994, she had facial pain on the left side of her face and vision problems that ‘were virtually unchecked,; despite the prescription medication that she was taking.” Perna was referred to Carson, “who performed two glycerine rhizotomy procedures, basically an injection of the chemical glycerol into the brain to reduce nerve pain.” Unfortunately, her pain only worsened.
Carson then reportedly called for “a microvascular decompression, which involves a partial removal of the cranium in order to separate a nerve from ‘adjacent structures.’” Perna claimed Carson didn’t review her MRI before doing the procedures. “According to the claim, the MRI would have alerted Carson that Perna had lesions on her brainstem as a result of her MS, making the microvascular decompression essentially useless.”
Also, Perna claimed after Carson finally reviewed the MRI post-procedure, he came to her hospital room in a “highly agitated state.” The suit stated that Carson said, “They did not tell me that there are lesions on your brainstem. Had I known that, we would have never done the microvascular decompression.” Sounds just like Carson, blaming everyone but himself. I’m surprised he didn’t find a way to blame Candy Carson!
Perna asked for $20,000 in damages, and it was settled out of court.
In another lawsuit, he reportedly left a sponge inside a patient’s brain. The New York Daily News reported, “69-year-old Floridian Darlene King said in her suit that during a 2008 surgery, Carson’s team performed on her for facial pain and her ear drums were perforated. When the pain didn’t subside after the surgery, Carson said she could have a tumor and operated on her again. The second surgery, however, revealed that the item he had presumed was the tumor was ‘a sponge he had left in her brain.’” Carson’s response? In 2015, he told Fox News, “It is true that we put a certain type of sponge into pad things away and sometimes there is a reaction to that sponge and that’s what happened.” For more on his accusations, click here.
While it’s not unusual for doctors to be sued for malpractice, it is unusual for a doctor to become the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development — and to be rocked with endless scandals in a position he has had for just a little over a year. The American people, literally and figuratively, can’t afford his incompetence.