Dr. Ben Carson splits Siamese Twins Conjoined by the Head


502nd Air Base Wing

According to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Black History Month dates back to 1915. Carter G. Woodson, founder of the ASALH and Black History Month, chose the month of February for the observance because it includes the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Tommy Brown/Released)

By Nia Botti, Staff Writer

The whole country knows Dr. Ben Carson as the man who wanted to run for president, but many Americans don’t know that he was also the first person to successfully split Siamese twins that were conjoined by the head.  This was a difficult procedure that many had attempted, but failed. In previous attempts, either one or neither of the twins survived, but Dr. Carson was able to successfully keep both twins alive.

In 1987, Dr. Carson performed the procedure at John Hopkins Hospital in Florida, but didn’t know that he would be the one to separate the babies at the head.  He felt that he was young and expected an older doctor working on the procedure with him to cut the vein that connected the babies’ heads.  However, the older doctor decided that Carson would be a better fit to make the cut.  Carson did so, knowing that he had to attempt at saving the babies’ lives.

Today, the twins, Patrick and Benjamin, are living out their lives as regular adults.  Dr. Ben Carson, who is black, made history for his race and for the world.  His medical knowledge allowed him to perform a life-saving surgery that continued to save lives today.