I'd like to hear him talk about Harriet Tubman's brain surgery:
Early in life, she suffered a traumatic head wound when an irate slave owner threw a heavy metal weight intending to hit another slave and hit her instead. [She later explained her belief that her hair – which "had never been combed and ... stood out like a bushel basket" – might have saved her life.] The injury caused dizziness, pain, and spells of hypersomnia, which occurred throughout her life. She was a devout Christian and experienced strange visions and vivid dreams, which she ascribed to premonitions from God....What could brain surgery have been like at that time? I see that Harvey Williams Cushing (April 8, 1869 – October 7, 1939), the "father of modern neurosurgery," did his internship at Massachusetts General Hospital after graduating from Harvard Medical School in 1895.
As Tubman aged, the seizures, headaches, and suffering from her childhood head trauma continued to plague her. At some point in the late 1890s, she underwent brain surgery at Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital. Unable to sleep because of pains and "buzzing" in her head, she asked a doctor if he could operate. He agreed and, in her words, "sawed open my skull, and raised it up, and now it feels more comfortable." She had received no anesthesia for the procedure and reportedly chose instead to bite down on a bullet, as she had seen Civil War soldiers do when their limbs were amputated.
I wonder how sophisticated the surgery could have been in the late 1890s. Here we have this wonderful brain surgeon, Ben Carson, on a show to talk about Harriet Tubman, and there was a fascinating subject squarely within his expertise. I would have loved to hear what he might have said about the history of brain surgery!