Former patient of Ben Carson says she's suffering from his surgery
02/01/2016 5:20 pm PST
One of presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson's former patients says she's still suffering from what happened during surgery he performed on her.
For months, he's been shaking hands and signing books, hoping for the big desk in the Oval Office, a world away from America's top surgery rooms and his hot-shot career as a neurosurgeon.
At 33, Ben Carson was named the youngest director of pediatric neurosurgery in the United States, most famous for separating the conjoined Binder twins, and performing the first successful brain surgery on a baby in the womb.
But 27-year-old Karly Bailey isn't impressed with Ben Carson's achievements. Instead, she claims, the surgeon's hands have ruined her life forever.
"The surgery that Dr. Carson performed left me with deficits which have destroyed my dreams," said Karly.
Karly Bailey was a happy, energetic 7-year-old living near Tampa with her parents and little sister. But that changed when the family found out she had a brain tumor.
Doctors operated and removed 97 percent of the tumor, inserting a shunt to drain fluid. By all accounts, the surgery was a success and life for Karly returned to normal.
"She excelled in horseback riding," said John, her father. "Sixty days after that operation she came in number two in the spelling bee in the second grade."
But two years later, the tumor came back and there was also a problem with her shunt. To fix it, they went to Johns Hopkins in Maryland, where Ben Carson made his name performing thousands of successful brain surgeries.
"Dr. Carson and I went over her case history and what a surgeon must agree to do to be allowed to perform a partial resection of her brainstem tumor," said John.
John says he made it clear to Dr. Carson to not operate near her brainstem.
We left the meeting, he walked over to where Karly and her mother sitting on the couch and said, 'My goal is not to kill your kid. I will follow your surgical guidelines,'" said John.
"Her mother was upset at his arrogance and attitude and did not want him to operate on Karly's brain tumor," said John.
John talked his wife into letting Dr. Carson operate. But after the surgery, John says, one of Dr. Carson's colleagues came out to talk to the family.
"The assistant surgeon came out and said, 'He got it all. I would have never gone that far,'" said John. "Right there, we were in shock."
The next time john saw his daughter and Dr. Carson, everything was radically different.
"When I saw Karly, Dr. Carson was at her bedside, I noticed her facial droop, and I said, 'Dr. Carson, what about her facial droop?' And he said, 'Oh, that's temporary,'" said John.
"I couldn't move my right side very well," said Karly. "I was so angry at the world. I did feel like my world had crumbled."
Karly left the hospital and spent the next seven months -- five days a week -- in therapy.
And it seemed to John that Dr. Carson had virtually disappeared. They never saw him again after that first bedside meeting.
When Karly returned to school, the kids were cruel.
"When I went back to school, I was called a freak. I was called a loser," said Karly. "It made me depressed. Just very depressed."
Years went by and adjusting to her new life wasn't easy.
In addition to the facial droop, Karly had to deal with migraines, memory issues and nystagmus, which is like constant, severe vertigo.
Then, at age 21, after years of suffering, Karly decided to take some action.
"She ordered the surgical documents, and there was the answer in Dr. Carson's operative report," said John. "His operative report stated he attempted to remove all visible tumors from the floor of the fourth ventrical, which is the top of the brain stem -- that was in complete violation and breach of his contract he established with Karly and her parents prior to surgery."
They filed a claim, and when Dr. Carson was deposed, John says Carson's sworn statement was very different from his post-surgery statement.
"Dr. Carson in a sworn deposition, stated, 'Number 10, I did not invade Ms. Bailey's brain stem during the procedure,'" said John.
Dr. Carson said that, and went on to say, "Nor did I damage any cranial nerve. The comment in the report that 'an attempt was made to remove all visible tumor' describes my efforts to remove as much of the tumor as was reasonably safe."
Dr. Carson has been involved in some malpractice cases: some were dismissed, some settled, some are pending. Most experts say that is typical in the field of neurosurgery. Carson's medical license is in good standing and he has never been under any criminal investigation for this surgery or any others.
Crime Watch Daily reached out to Dr. Ben Carson for a statement, but Carson's campaign declined to comment, saying HIPAA laws prevented them from discussing the case.
John says their lives have been turned upside down because of this.
Karly, now 27, can't work and the family home is in foreclosure.
"She would rather have 7 cents and have her physical disabilities and neurological disabilities restored. It's not about the money," said John. "Dr. Carson raised $25 million last quarter as a presidential candidate. Why don't you just tell the truth and take care of the patient whose life you destroyed? That's what we ask of Dr. Carson. That's all."