From the O.R. to the Oval Office- 3 Docs Who Ran- part 2

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Yesterday I told you about Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for President. You can read part 1 here.

Today, 2 more physician candidates  from the Republican party.

Randall “Rand” Paul, M.D., Republican party candidate

Dr. Rand Paul, ophthalmologist, ran for President as a Republican candidate.

He suspended his campaign.

Some notes about Dr. Paul.

  1. Dr. Paul graduated from Duke University Medical School.
  2. He was elected Senator from Kentucky in 2010.
  3. He is married, has 3 children, and coached his children in Little League baseball, soccer and basketball.
  4. His father Dr. Ron Paul is an obstetrician/gynecologist, has served in the House of Representatives, and also ran for President.
  5. He has served as President of the Lions Club International .
  6. He provides eye surgery free of charge to people unable to pay in his home state of Kentucky.
  7. He has travelled around the world as a volunteer eye surgeon, providing care to people unable to pay; a recent trip was to Guatemala. He has received awards for his humanitarian work.
  8. Dr. Paul has written books, including Our Presidents & Their Prayers: Proclamations of Faith by America’s Leaders 

a vision refractor
An ophthalmologist is a physician (doctor of medicine, MD, or doctor of osteopathy, DO) who specializes in the medical and surgical care of the eyes and visual system and in the prevention of eye disease and injury.

Benjamin Carson, M.D., Republican party candidate 

Dr. Carson , a neurosurgeon, was one of the candidates for the Republican nomination.

He has suspended his campaign.

These notes about Dr. Carson are taken from his 1992 autobiography

Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story
Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story


Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story which I recently read and enjoyed.

  1. Dr. Carson’s mother, Sonya, one of 24 children,  married at age 13 ;her husband abandoned her when Dr. Carson and his brother were young boys. An uneducated illiterate woman, she taught herself to read, and required her sons to read books weekly.
  2. While he was growing up, his family depended on food stamps to have enough to eat.
  3. At age 8, after hearing a missionary doctor speak at his church, he decided to become a physician.
  4. He had such poor vision, he was almost legally blind. His grades improved when he started wearing glasses.
  5. As a teenager, he had such a quick and fiery temper, her feared he might kill someone.
  6. Both he and his brother were in JROTC while in high school; his brother served in the Navy during the Vietnam War.
  7. In high school he played clarinet and developed a love of classical music, something he would share with his future wife Candy.
  8. He chose to attend Yale over Harvard, because Yale beat Harvard in the GE College Bowl television program.
  9. During college he worked at the Ford Auto plant and at Chrysler.
  10. He and Candy lived in Australia for one year so he could train in neurosurgery there- and his first child was born in Australia that year.
  11. His third child was born at home- and he did the unplanned, quick delivery while his mother dialed 911 for help.


Neurosurgery is the surgical specialty that deals with the nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord. Long before Dr. Carson became involved in politics, he was known for his pioneering work in brain surgery. He discusses this work in his autobiography, which was also made into a movie of the same name. In the movie, one of my favorite actors, Cuba Gooding Jr., played Dr. Carson.

Dr. Carson specialized in two difficult and dangerous types of surgeries.

In hemispherectomy  half of the brain is surgically removed as a treatment for severe, intractable seizures. It is only used as a last resort, is not always successful and can cause paralysis on one side of the body. Dr.Carson was known as an expert in this surgery.

Conjoined or Siamese twins joined at the head are rare, occurring in 1 in 2 million births.

“In 1987, Carson attracted international attention by performing a surgery to separate 7-month-old occipital craniopagus twins in Germany.

Patrick and Benjamin Binder were born joined at the head. Their parents contacted Carson, who went to Germany to consult with the family and the boys’ doctors. Because the boys were joined at the back of the head, and because they had separate brains, he felt the operation could be performed successfully.

On September 4, 1987, after months of rehearsals, Carson and a huge team of doctors, nurses and support staff joined forces for what would be a 22-hour procedure. Part of the challenge in radical neurosurgery is to prevent severe bleeding and trauma to the patients.

In the highly complex operation, Carson had applied both hypothermic and circulatory arrest. Although the twins did suffer some brain damage and post-operation bleeding, both survived the separation, allowing Carson’s surgery to be considered by the medical establishment the first successful procedure of its kind.”(from Ben Carson bio)







Gifted Hands movie
Gifted Hands- The Ben Carson Story movie version starring Cuba Gooding Jr.

From the O.R. to the Oval Office- 3 Docs Who Ran

Anyone who is following the United States Presidential campaign knows it has become one of the most unexpected, unpredictable and contentious races in history. And so far the candidates are only vying for their parties’ nominations.

The qualifications for President are fairly simple (at least it seemed so until the controversy over Mr. Obama’s birth certificate.)

U.S. Constitution Requirements for a Presidential Candidate:

The President must:

  • Be a natural-born citizen of the United States

  • Be at least 35 years old

  • Have been a resident of the United States for 14 years

How to become President inforgraphic
The Presidential pathway from



The election process is anything but simple. The candidates campaign to secure delegates to their party’s convention through caucuses or primaries in each state. Then at the convention they must win the nomination to be on the ballot to win the electors in each state.

Finally, the Electoral College votes on which candidate will be President. Even that might not be final since in one recent election  the final decision ended up in the Supreme Court (Bush vs Gore).

Holding the office of the President is our country’s highest honor but the job of president has become so thankless I wonder why anyone wants to do it. But I am grateful that people volunteer for and seek the position, and this year three of the candidates are physicians. (three that I discovered; if you know of others, please tell me.)

Since March 30 is National Doctor’s Day this blog is recognizing and thanking the three physician presidential candidates in this and my next post.

These posts are meant to inform, not influence you; they do not indicate an endorsement of the candidates. I will not promote or endorse any candidate on this blog.

In medical usage, progress notes are “Records kept by health care workers to indicate the course of the patient during care”

I have written some “progress notes” about each candidate that will give you a glimpse into their professional, personal and political lives.

statue of George Washington in Manhattan
statue of General George Washington, first President of the United States of America – New York City


Jill Stein, M.D.- Green Party candidate 

Dr. Stein, an internist,  is running for President for the Green Party.

Here are some notes about her.

  1. Dr. Stein graduated from Harvard Medical School.
  2. Her hobbies include writing and performing music.
  3. She ran for President in 2012, also on the Green Party ticket.
  4. She is a physician’s wife, mother, internal medicine physician/teacher and “environmental-health advocate.”
  5. She developed the “Healthy People, Healthy Planet” teaching program.
  6. She has been interviewed on the Today Show, 20/20 and Fox News network.
  7. In Massachusetts she ran for Governor, State Representative and Secretary of State.
  8. She co-founded the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities, a non-profit organization.
  9. She likes to walk with her Great Dane Bandita.
  10. She has advocated for several environmental issues in her home state-
  • Mercury contamination of fish
  • The “Filthy Five” coal plants clean up
  • Mercury and dioxin contamination from burning trash


The Presidential Oval Office at the Reagan Library
a replica of the White House Oval Office at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library



Next post- two Republican candidates  are doctors.

Do you know who they are?

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