Last week, I watched Senator Rand Paul do pro-bono cataract surgery for two women, one of whom couldn’t afford any health insurance. From my piece:
‘Oh my God. Oh my God.”
Those are Cynthia Burke’s first words after Senator Rand Paul, an ophthalmologist, completes her eye surgery, removing the cataract in her right eye. Lying down in the operation room, Burke, a 55-year-old woman from the Ozarks town of Fredericktown, Mo., looks up. Standing above her are Paul and another ophthalmologist, Barbara Bowers, both dressed in blue scrubs.
Because of her cataracts, Burke hadn’t been able to perceive much color, and couldn’t see at all in her right eye when there wasn’t natural light. But now, with the surgery just completed, Burke’s sight is already hugely improved. “You have on blue clothes,” Burke marvels.
Paul, who just moments ago was bent over Burke, looking through a microscope at her eye as he methodically and precisely moved needles and tools to remove the cataract, laughs happily. “You’re seeing colors again,” he warmly observes.
The day after the surgery, Paul told medical students at University of Louisville he didn’t think health-care was a right. “I don’t think you have a right to my labor … it’s not a right because once you conscript people and say, ‘Oh, it’s a right,’ then really you’re in charge, it’s servitude,” he said. Read the full piece (and see a slideshow of photos of Paul doing the surgeries) here.