Gifted Hands

“Gifted Hands,” is the true story of renown pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson.  Dr. Carson’s early life begins in Detroit, Michigan where he struggled in elementary school until his mother realized he needed to wear glasses.  The glasses improved his grades but he still needed to be pushed to do well.  Realizing both Ben and his brother needed prodding; their mother forced them to memorize the multiplication tables which greatly improved Ben’s math ability.  As a follow up, his mother made both boys turn off the TV and read two books per week.  This study discipline triggered a thirst for learning in both boys and they began to excel in their school work.

As a teen, Ben developed a deep seeded anger that he had a hard time controlling.  At one point, he became so angry with his mother he threatened her with a hammer.  Later Ben bought a pocket knife and in a fit of anger attempted to stab a classmate.  Fortunately, the classmate’s belt buckle stopped the blade and saved Ben from a life in prison.  At this point, Ben realized he had to gain control over his anger and he prayed to God for help.

After gaining control of his temper, Ben continued to do well in school graduating from high school third in his class.  This is enough to get him a scholarship to Yale University.  He feels out-classed at Yale and comments to his new girlfriend that all the other students graduated first in their class.  Chemistry is especially difficult for him and one critical exam has him worried he will lose his scholarship.  During an all-night study session, Ben has a dream about the exam which includes the answers to all the test questions printed out on the class chalkboard.  The next day he takes the exam and is amazed that the vivid images from his dream, which are still in his head, are the precise answers he needs to ace the test.

Ben goes on to become a pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital where he performs a hemispherectomy, the removing of half the brain, on a young girl who is having chronic seizures.  The operation is a complete success and establishes Dr. Carson as one of the best in his field.

The film ends with his most extraordinary accomplishment, the separation of conjoined twins.  In a 22 hour operation with a team of 50 that includes heart surgeons and plastic surgeons.  They are able to successfully separate the two babies, saving both of their lives.  This is something that had never been done before.

“Gifted Hands,” is an amazing journey filled with unexpected twist and turns.  The screenplay is well written, the acting is top of the line, and the production is in all ways exceptional.  Throughout the story, Dr. Carson leans on his faith in God to guide him along the way.  Many doctors become so enamored with science they have a hard time seeing God.  Dr. Carson is so in awe of the miraculous powers of the brain, he can’t help but see God.  This is a remarkable life story that is filled with important and challenging lessons including a few difficult moments of racism that Dr. Carson had to endure along the way.  This is a film the whole family can enjoy however, younger viewers may need some help understanding the technical aspects of the story.

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