Sunday, June 17, 2018
Nation & World

Sen. Rand Paul’s injuries more severe than initially thought

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Sen. Rand Paul is recovering from five broken ribs and bruises to his lungs, and it is unclear when he will return to Washington, aides said Sunday, signaling that injuries he sustained Friday are far more severe than initially thought.

The second-term Republican senator from Kentucky and 2016 presidential candidate was attacked, allegedly by a next-door neighbor, Rene Boucher, 59, who was charged with fourth-degree assault.

Paul made his first public comments since the incident on Sunday, tweeting that his wife "Kelley and I appreciate the overwhelming support after Friday’s unfortunate event. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers."

Doug Stafford, Paul’s chief of staff, said in a statement Sunday that the senator has five rib fractures, including three displaced fractures, meaning the bones are partly or completely cracked.

"This type of injury is caused by high velocity severe force. It is not clear exactly how soon he will return to work, as the pain is considerable as is the difficulty in getting around, including flying," Stafford said.

Paul has lung contusions, or bruises, caused by the broken ribs, Stafford said. He could not say whether one lung was bruised or both, but said Paul’s recovery could last several months. Such fractures can cause other significant medical problems, including internal bleeding, damage to other organs or pneumonia.

The nature of the dispute between Paul and Boucher remained a mystery Sunday to locals who know both men as medical professionals based in this southwestern Kentucky town.

Paul is an ophthalmologist who has practiced in town since moving here with his wife in 1993. He continues to provide free medical care to low-income Kentucky residents on a regular basis throughout the year when the Senate is not in session.

Boucher is an anesthesiologist and the inventor of the Therm-a-Vest, a cloth vest partly filled with rice and secured with Velcro straps that is designed to help with back pain. He has worked at several local medical facilities through the years, according to public health records.

David Ciochetty, a doctor with Interventional Pain Specialists in Bowling Green, said in an interview Sunday that Boucher worked there as a "general pain medicine physician" for about a year and a half beginning in January 2010 before leaving.

Asked if he knew what might cause Boucher to lash out, Ciochetty said, "The rest of Bowling Green would like to know that, too. I was quite surprised to see this in the news."

Ciochetty said that Boucher used to work as an anesthesiologist at the hospital but "he told people that he sustained a neck injury and could not continue his anesthesiology duties."

After Boucher left IPS, Ciochetty did not hear of him practicing anywhere else.

Paul had full staff privileges at the hospital when Boucher worked there, so Paul and Boucher "must have worked together at some point," Ciochetty said.

Boucher was released Saturday on $7,500 bond, according to county jail records. He is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 9.

A motive is not known, and there is no indication that the attack was political in nature.

Jeff Jones, a registered nurse who worked with Boucher at the Bowling Green Medical Center, described Boucher’s politics as "liberal."

"He was active on social media and said some negative things about the Republican agenda," Jones said.

"I think it was unfortunate that they lived so close together," he added.

A Facebook page that appeared to be Boucher’s included links to articles and memes critical of President Trump and a news article about a Montana Republican congressional candidate who attacked a reporter the day before winning his seat. The page said Boucher is a former Army pain-management specialist and graduated from the College of Osteopathic Medicine in Des Moines in 1984.

By late Saturday, the page had been overrun by other Facebook users criticizing Boucher for the alleged assault. On Sunday, the page appeared to be blocked from public view.

Jim Bullington, a former member of the city commission, knows both men. He said Sunday that Boucher is divorced and lives alone. Bullington described Boucher as a socialist.

"He’s pretty much the opposite of Rand Paul in every way," Bullington said in an interview.

The neighbors had been known to have "heated discussions" about health care, Bullington said, adding that Boucher is an advocate of a national health system.

Paul, an outspoken libertarian, voted last summer against the Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, saying the plan didn’t go far enough in repealing the 2010 health-care law.

Robert Porter, a friend of Paul’s, said late Saturday that the senator was mowing his lawn moments before the attack.

Paul and Boucher live side by side along a small lake in Rivergreen, a close-knit gated community with large houses. On Sunday afternoon, nobody answered at Boucher’s home. Next door at the Paul residence, four people were seen doing yard work. Other neighbors were out walking, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather.

The senator joins a growing list of lawmakers in both parties who have been attacked or threatened with violence this year. Congressional security officials have investigated thousands of general or specific threats against Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

The threats turned to violence during the summer when House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., was nearly killed by a gunman who showed up at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.

Paul, a member of the team, was on the field at the time of the shooting but was not hurt.

More recently, Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., skipped several days of votes after threats were made against her after she sparred with Trump over the treatment of the widow of a U.S. soldier killed in Niger.

Comments
No mixed-race babies, please: Russian lawmaker tells women to avoid sex with some World Cup visitors

No mixed-race babies, please: Russian lawmaker tells women to avoid sex with some World Cup visitors

On the eve of the World Cup, a Russian lawmaker urged the nation’s women to avoid sexual liaisons with foreigners of different races.Tamara Pletnyova, a lawmaker in the Communist Party and head of a state congressional committee on children and famil...
Published: 06/16/18
Paul Manafort ordered to jail after witness-tampering charges

Paul Manafort ordered to jail after witness-tampering charges

Paul Manafort will be jailed after being accused of witness tampering while awaiting trial on federal conspiracy and money-laundering charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller III.The order to imprison President Donald Trump’s former campaign...
Published: 06/15/18
US to house migrant children in tents as government takes more into custody

US to house migrant children in tents as government takes more into custody

With the number of migrant children in government custody rising fast, the Trump administration said Thursday that it will open an additional temporary shelter in the desert outside El Paso.The shelter site, at the Tornillo-Marcelino Serna port of en...
Published: 06/15/18

U.S. renews call for Cuba to probe cause of health ‘attacks’

WASHINGTON — The United States on Thursday renewed calls for the Cuban government to determine the source of health "attacks" on U.S. diplomats in Cuba that have affected some two dozen people. At a senior-level meeting with Cuban officials in Washin...
Published: 06/14/18
New York files suit against President Trump, alleging his charity engaged in ‘illegal conduct’

New York files suit against President Trump, alleging his charity engaged in ‘illegal conduct’

The New York attorney general on Thursday filed suit against President Donald Trump and his three eldest children alleging "persistently illegal conduct" at the president’s personal charity, saying Trump repeatedly misused the nonprofit - to pay off ...
Published: 06/14/18
Justice Department watchdog sees errors, not bias, in Comey’s Clinton probe

Justice Department watchdog sees errors, not bias, in Comey’s Clinton probe

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department’s watchdog faults former FBI Director James Comey for breaking with protocol in his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, but it says his decisions were not driven by political bias ahead of the 2016...
Published: 06/14/18
Here are 5 fast birthday facts to mark President Trump turning 72 today

Here are 5 fast birthday facts to mark President Trump turning 72 today

In between forging his new relationship with North Korea, perhaps mending fences with his allies in Canada and elsewhere, and awaiting word on what the Justice Department might have to say about the handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation...
Published: 06/14/18
Inside Casa Padre, the converted Walmart where the US is holding nearly 1,500 immigrant children

Inside Casa Padre, the converted Walmart where the US is holding nearly 1,500 immigrant children

BROWNSVILLE, Texas - For more than a year, the old Walmart along the Mexican border here has been a mystery to those driving by on the highway. In place of the supercenter’s trademark logo hangs a curious sign: "Casa Padre."But behind the sliding doo...
Published: 06/14/18
Trump downplays the human rights record of Kim Jong Un

Trump downplays the human rights record of Kim Jong Un

President Donald Trump downplayed the human rights record of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s regime in an interview that aired Wednesday night, calling him a "tough guy" and saying that "a lot of bad things" have taken place in other nations.The pr...
Published: 06/14/18
North American trio beats Morocco to host 2026 World Cup

North American trio beats Morocco to host 2026 World Cup

MOSCOW — North America will host the 2026 World Cup after FIFA voters overwhelmingly opted for the financial and logistical certainty of a United States-led bid over a risky Moroccan proposal for the first 48-team tournament.The soccer showpiece will...
Published: 06/13/18