The Paducah Sun: Senator performs charitable surgery
During a trip to Paducah Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul traded his political hat for scrubs and a surgical mask and teamed with two local doctors to perform free eye surgeries. An ophthalmologist by trade, the freshman Kentucky senator was forced to close his Bowling Green practice when he was elected in 2010. He said Senate ethics laws prevent him from receiving payment for any job outside Congress. "One thing I've missed since I've been elected is getting to practice as much as I'd like to," Paul said. Paul joined Dr. Barbara Bowers, a Paducah ophthalmologist, and Dr. Laxmaiah Manchikanti, CEO and founder of the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, Tuesday for four pro bono cataract cases. The surgeries were done at the Ambulatory Surgery Center inside the Pain Management Center Pavilion on Lone Oak Road. Manchikanti oversees operations at the pain management center, and Bowers has her own practice in Paducah. Manchikanti and Bowers said that they were excited that Paul decided to come to Paducah and help with the surgeries and that the patients, who were well aware that the senator would be their doctor, were also very excited. Everything was free for the patients, some of whom Paul said have been waiting for a very long time for the surgeries but could not afford them. "They a lot of times end up being challenging cases because if they don't have insurance they may have been waiting six months or a year or more if they're getting surgery," he said. Because of strict ethics laws, Paul said that he could not even request payment for his insurance or equipment, thus the surgeries rack up some personal out-of-pocket expense. Paul said he has performed several other charitable surgeries since his election and he plans to continue the work to keep up-to-date on his profession, especially if he is not re-elected or decides later not to continue on the political road.
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