Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky remains in recovery after being “blindsided” in an assault by his neighbor on Friday. He suffered five broken ribs and bruises to his lungs: injuries that were more severe than initially reported. It remains unclear when he will return to Washington, aides said on Sunday. Reports suggest that he suffered life-threatening fractures, caused by an attack, allegedly by his next-door neighbor, Dr. Rene Boucher, 59, who was charged with fourth-degree assault. He may face federal assault charges.
On Sunday, the senator tweeted his first public comments since the incident, noting that his wife “Kelley and I appreciate the overwhelming support after Friday’s unfortunate event. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.” According to his chief of staff, Doug Stafford, Paul suffered five rib fractures of which three are 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.
The fractures Paul suffered can lead to significant medical issues, including pneumonia, damage to other organs, and internal bleeding. The senator was mowing his lawn at the time of the attack.
Boucher was charged with three-degree assault. He was released on $7,500 and is expected to appear in court on November 9. He is an anesthesiologist and the inventor of the Therm-a-Vest, which is a device designed to relieve back pain. Dr. David Ciochetty of Interventional Pain Specialists in Bowling Green, said on Sunday that Boucher worked there as a “general pain medicine physician” for about a year and a half beginning in January 2010. When he was asked what might have caused the attack, Ciochetty replied, “The rest of Bowling Green would like to know that, too. I was quite surprised to see this in the news.” While Boucher used to work as an anaesthesiologist at a local hospital, Ciochetty said that he told locals that an injury prevented him from continuing his practice.
Sen. Paul is a practicing ophthalmologist with full staff privileges at the hospital when Boucher worked, and frequently provided care free of charge to low-income patients. Ciochetty said that he believed that Paul and Boucher worked together at some point.
Some of Boucher’s acquaintances describe him as a liberal in politics. A Facebook page bearing his name had links to articles and memes critical of President Donald Trump. The page noted that he claims to be a former Army pain-management specialist and a 1984 graduate of the College of Osteopathic Medicine in Des Moines. By Sunday, the page was blocked. A former member of the Bowling Green city commission told the Washington Post that Boucher is divorced and lives alone. Jim Bullington told the Post that Boucher is a socialist and Sen. Paul’s political opposite. He was known to have heated discussions with Paul about nationalized healthcare.
Paul survived an attack this summer when a gunman sprayed members of Congress assembled for a charity baseball game in Alexandria, Virginia. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) was nearly killed by the gunman.