Report sheds light on other side of Ben Carson’s conjoined twins surgeries

Carson holds a model of the heads of conjoined twins.
Carson holds a model of the heads of conjoined twins. –Chris Gardner / Associated Press

Dr. Ben Carson has used his background as a successful neurosurgeon to surge ahead in the polls, but closer looks at the procedures that caused his star to rise show that Carson’s optimistic accounts aren’t the full story, according to a new Boston Globe report.

Carson performed four conjoined twin separations and served as a consultant in another, according to the Globe. Of those five sets of twins, one set went on to lead normal, healthy lives. The others either died shortly after surgery, or suffered from debilitating brain damage as a result of the operation.

Carson performed his first conjoined twin separation in 1987 on seven-month-old German boys who were attached by a blood vessel at their back of their brains. After the surgery, Carson characterized their condition as “advanced,’’ saying one would likely soon start crawling with the other recovering as well. But at age 7, the two boys could not speak, eat, or move on their own, and only one is still alive.

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“In a technological ‘Star Wars’ sort of way, the operation was a fantastic success,’’ Carson told the Associated Press in 1989. “But as far as having normal children, I don’t think it was all that successful.’’

Read the full Globe story here.

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