MILWAUKEE, Wi. – When asked by moderator Neil Cavuto to clarify statements he made about his past during Tuesday’s GOP debate, retired neurosurgeon and Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson rescinded a tale from his childhood about performing his first brain surgery on a drifter.
In Carson’s autobiography, Gifted Hands, the former surgeon describes how, with the help of a childhood friend, he lured a “visibly intoxicated” drifter from a nearby train yard into a dilapidated shed on the outskirts of his parents’ property. “Using a concoction of elixirs looted from my dear mother’s medicine cabinet,” Carson writes, “we were able to administer a suitable anesthetic to our ailing patient as we prepped him for surgery.”
During the debate, however, Dr. Carson said the story, like much of his autobiography, wasn’t “100% accurate,” calling the apparent discrepancies “an honest mistake.” As the other candidates on stage looked on in amusement, Carson retold the story, this time saying the “patient” wasn’t a drifter but “a terminally ill man from the neighborhood.” In fact, Carson said, “I didn’t perform the surgery myself; I was thirteen years old at the time, how could I?” Instead, Carson said, he merely watched as another neighbor -a fully licensed brain surgeon, performed the life saving operation on a table in his unfinished basement.
Later in the debate, afterWall Street Journal editor-in-chief Gerald Baker further pressed Dr. Carson on the subject, Carson, who was visibly agitated and appeared to be sweating, declared that the basement brain surgery scenario never actually happened at all. “I saw it on TV,” Carson finally admitted, “On Grey’s Anatomy, I think.”
According to a new poll released Monday by Monmouth University, Ben Carson has pulled ahead of Donald Trump in South Carolina, a key state in the Republican presidential primaries. Carson holds the support of 28% of South Carolina’s Republican voters while Trump remains close behind at 27%.