Rand Paul has part of lung removed after 2017 assault by neighbor

Rene Boucher broke several of the senator’s ribs when he tackled him while Paul was doing yard work at his home in Kentucky in 2017.
Image: Rand Paul
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., walks to the Senate chamber at the Capitol on July 31, 2019.J. Scott Applewhite / AP

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By Rebecca Shabad

WASHINGTON — Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Monday that he had surgery over the weekend to remove part of his lung that was damaged when his neighbor assaulted him in 2017.

Paul, 56, made the announcement on Twitter and said that because of the operation, he would have to limit his activities in August, during the House and Senate’s recess.

Paul did not elaborate on the reason for having the surgery now, nearly two years after the assault. The surgery comes at same time the senior GOP senator from his state, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is recovering after fracturing his shoulder in a fall Sunday at his Kentucky home.

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Following back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, over the weekend that have left at least 31 dead and dozens injured, Democrats have called on McConnell to bring the Senate back into session to vote on a background check bill that the House passed in February.

Earlier this year, Paul was awarded more than $580,000 in damages and medical expenses in his lawsuit against his neighbor, Rene Boucher, who broke several of the senator’s ribs when he tackled him in 2017 while Paul was doing yard work at his home in Kentucky. Paul testified before a jury in January that he feared for his life during the attack.

"At this point, I thought, 'I can't breathe. ... If I do nothing, this may be the last breath I ever take, because whoever is doing this isn't stopping,'" Paul said. "And I really thought if I got another blow to my back, I wasn't going to survive. And so really I did think I could die at that point. The thought crossed my mind that I may never get up from this lawn again."

Boucher’s attorney said last year that his client “lost his temper” over yard debris that was lying near their property line. Paul sought up to $500,000 in compensatory damages and up to $1 million in punitive damages, according to the Associated Press.

Boucher pleaded guilty to assaulting a member of Congress and was sentenced to 30 days in prison as punishment for the attack.