Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) will be leaving the country to receive specialized medical care to treat an injury he sustained when a neighbor violently assaulted him in late 2017.
The self-styled “libertarian-conservative” will receive hernia surgery at a special treatment facility in Ontario, Canada during the week of Jan. 21. The Shouldice Hernia Hospital in Thornhill is “the only licensed hospital in the world dedicated to repairing hernias,” according to its website.
Paul’s injury occurred on Nov. 3 after a violent encounter with his next-door neighbor. Rene Boucher, who was ultimately charged with assault and spent 30 days in prison, became incensed when he saw the Kentucky senator piling yardwork debris near his property line.
Charging down a slope, he tackled the congressman, who was wearing headphones, from behind. The assault left Paul with serious injuries, including six broken ribs and a bruised lung.
Kentucky’s Courier Journal cited a “medical expert” who described the tackle which Paul absorbed as “comparable to a chest trauma that would be seen in a 25-mile-per-hour car crash.” The senator’s attorneys used this medical opinion in a Jan. 11 court filing to outline the damages sustained by Paul.
Paul is expected to pay anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000 for the surgery. So far, the senator is suing for just $4,000 for medical costs associated with his injuries, although his lawyers said that medical costs will “continue to be updated through trial and will certainly include the hernia surgery that is currently scheduled to take place in Ontario, Canada.”
World class care
Paul is taking advantage of the superior medical facilities at the Shouldice Hernia Hospital. The clinic’s website touts itself as a “global leader in non-mesh hernia repair.”
However, some of the senator’s critics — and the media — took him to task for the decision to seek care from a facility in Canada, where socialized medicine is practiced. Although the Shouldice Hernia Hospital is a privately owned clinic, it receives most of its funding from the provincial government and accepts the Ontario Hospital Insurance Plan.
In 2011, Paul said that people who believe they have “a right to health care” effectively “believe in slavery.” As a non-citizen, however, Paul will not be benefiting from Canada’s universal healthcare system.
A spokeswoman for the senator dismissed accusations that Paul was acting hypocritically by using a system he regularly deplores.
“This is more fake news on a story that has been terribly reported from day one — this is a private, world renowned hospital separate from any system and people come from around the world to pay cash for their services,” Kelsey Cooper, the senator’s communications director, told the Courier Journal in an email.
Paul will pay for the surgery with cash or credit card before seeking remunerations in court. A jury trial addressing the civil suit is scheduled for Jan. 28 in Bowling Green.