Dr. Ben Carson’s only qualification he has for his ill-fated
presidential campaign book tour is his work as a pediatric neuro-surgeon, but much like his public policy proposals, not even that track record can stand up to scrutiny. Carson is an anathema, a man who may not be the great surgeon that legend suggests – at least as judged by the number of medical malpractice lawsuits brought against him as a surgeon – and a man who also puts forth some of the most vile and evil diatribe imaginable while on the presidential stump.
Dr. Carson’s claim to fame was his successful 1987 surgery to separate conjoined twins, joined at the head. Carson was the first doctor to complete this procedure successfully. Both twins survived the intense 22-hour surgery, and a legend was born. However, Mike Papantonio, a lawyer by training and the host of Ring of Fire spoke on Carson’s shady medical malpractice history on his broadcast yesterday: “He (Carson) holds an above average rate of medical malpractice lawsuits, very serious medical malpractice lawsuits. Many of been settled for undeclared amounts of money, while others are still pending in the courts.” Papantonio went on to say “that while 75% of doctors have malpractice claims at one time or another, but less than 2% of those claims lead to any kind of financial claim to the victim…[while] virtually all of Carson’s cases have…Carson has been a medical malpractice nightmare, and now he’s a political malpractice nightmare.”
“In one case, Carson was accused of bungling a surgery to replace a shunt in the brain of an ailing 9-year-old girl, leaving her disfigured for life and for a time partially paralyzed. In another case, the well-regarded surgeon allegedly punctured his patient’s eardrums during an operation and forgot a sponge in her skull, which he later claimed was a tumor. Others claims against Carson outlined in a heap of legal documents include performing an unnecessary surgery on a woman suffering from multiple sclerosis and leaving a teenage boy with dwarfism paralyzed from the waist down. One of Carson’s most vocal critics has been 27-year-old Karly Bailey, who in 2009 filed a lawsuit against the former brain surgeon and John Hopkins Hospital claiming medical malpractice involving the alleged failure to properly perform surgery to replace a shunt and remove a tumor.”
Consider this is the same homophobic Ben Carson who bizarrely said on the political stump being gay was a choice evidenced by the outrageous anti-gay assertion that “[Prisoners] go into prison straight, and when they come out, they’re gay. So did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question.” The same Ben Carson who like the rest of the science-denying Republican field denies evolution, which is especially egregious on his part because one inevitably must study basic biology in order to attend medical school. And the same Ben Carson, who claims to be pro-life making the outlandishly outrageous claim comparing abortion to slavery said in October on Meet the Press: “During slavery — and I know that’s one of those words you’re not supposed to say, but I’m saying it — during slavery, a lot of the slave owners thought that they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave. Anything that they chose to do. And, you know, what if the abolitionist had said, you know, I don’t believe in slavery. I think it’s wrong. But you guys do whatever you want to do’? Where would we be?”
We can only laugh in despair when Ben Carson said upon his retirement as a surgeon: “I’d much rather quit when I’m at the top of my game.” But, malpractice is not Carson’s alone, the entire field of Republican malcontents running for the presidency are guilty of national malfeasance and malpractice. The top three contenders are Trump, Carson, and Fiorina, legends in their own minds who have no political experience between them. The balance of the national Republican embarrassments advocate 30 year-old arcane malfeasant policies given credibility by an association with their patron saint, Ronald Reagan, and all of whom believe the vile and discredited answer to poverty and all our economic ills is lowering taxes for the top 1% – and a body politic who holds the priority of religious beliefs over empirical answers to the scientific problems confronting our nation – and all that follows from there.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.