Senator Rand Paul's Injuries Prevent Return to DC
On Friday, Senator Rand Paul was attacked by next door neighbor Rene Boucher while mowing the lawn. While initial reports indicated that his injuries were not severe, the police reports and comments from his staff indicate that the senator has six broken ribs, three of which are completely displaced.
Doug Stafford, one of Paul's staffers, has indicated that the senator has trouble moving around, and flying would be difficult. Unfortunately, this incident strands him in Kentucky when the Senate will be discussing the tax plan recently set forth by the GOP.
Reports state that Paul was "blindsided" or hit from behind. While currently the senator has only bruised ribs, the danger of this situation is that a sharp broken rib can puncture a lung, or the space surrounding the lung, creating difficulty in drawing a breath. It is likely that the initial report of difficulty of breathing was a result of pain, not of a physical condition like a punctured lung. Luckily, as a physician himself, Paul will be able to accurately evaluate himself to know what he can and cannot do.
Paul was also present in the most recent attack on GOP senators at the baseball game in Virginia. While Paul escaped injury in that case, Senator Steve Scalise was shot but has recovered and returned to DC. Senator Rand Paul is also likely to make a full recovery, even if prevented from flying for a few weeks.
The attacker, Rene Boucher, is alive and was released on a $7500 bail. Boucher was an anesthesiologist who invented the Therm-a-vest, a device used to help back pain. At this point, it is unknown why Boucher chose to attack Paul at this particular moment. The Associated Press talked to a Republican neighbor who commented that they disagreed politically but never violently.
He is being charged with misdemeanor fourth-degree assault with a minor injury or a Class A misdemeanor, which in Kentucky means that if convicted, he will pay a $500 fine in addition to potentially a year in prison.
Correction: At 12:26pm Wednesday, Senator Rand Paul's Twitter indicated that he has 6, not 5 broken ribs. Additionally, he has a "pleural effusion", which means there is excess fluid surrounding his lungs. This condition, especially when under observation, is not life threatening.