Sen. Paul Performs Free Eye Surgeries in Paducah
By Bill Hughes
PADUCAH, KY - Kentucky's U.S. Senator Rand Paul spent Wednesday afternoon in Paducah doing his old job.
The Bowling Green Ophthalmologist partnered with Dr. Barbara Bowers to do free cataract surgeries for 4 people, bringing their total number of patients to eleven over the last eighteen months.
Senate rules prevent the junior Senator from being paid to do the procedures - even part time - so this helps him stay up to date, while giving back to his constituents. Each patient is set to have both eyes done, so Dr. Bowers will perform the second surgery for them in a couple of weeks.
Paul said from what he understands, the people having procedures don't have insurance, but are not "poor enough" to qualify for government assistance.
"So, they're sort of caught in-between, some people say, 'fall between the cracks," and so this is a big deal. At least two of them couldn't even see motion, barely, so they were not only functionally blind - literally blind - and it's exciting to be able to see them get some vision back," Paul said.
He thanked Dr. Bowers for donating her time, along with Dr. Manchikanti's Ambulatory Surgery Center, inside Pain Management Center. Paul estimated that between the doctors' time, other staff, and the facility, the expense was between $5,000-7,000 per patient, but it's worth it to see the reaction when that person's vision improves almost instantly.
Paul's first patient, Cynthia Burke of Fredericktown, MO, said she is, "a new woman" after a cataract was removed and a lens was put in her right eye. She could see the spots on the patterned ceiling immediately. Burke said she learned that Paul would be performing the surgery about 10 days ago, and thought the idea was, "awesome."
Burke is a registered Republican, but she doesn't vote along party lines.
"If I like what they got to say, then I'll vote for them. But if I don't agree with what they say, I ain't gonna vote for them. That's the way I am," Burke said.
When asked if patients chat him up about politics while he is taking care of them in surgery, Paul said, "Not while we're working, and I'm not a big talker while we're working. In fact, I kinda like to stay focused on what we're doing. But afterwards sometimes, and in the office sometimes, people ask me about politics."
Apparently Burke agrees with Paul on at least one subject.
Burke said, "Me and my bud here, we got the same views on ObamaCare. We're gonna straighten it out. If they'd just let me in there to help him we could get this world straightened out."