J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo
Senator Rand Paul blasted the Capitol physician this week, and accused him of “misinformation” over Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s health.
Paul, a medical doctor trained at the prestigious Duke University School of Medicine, said this week that he has “practiced medicine for 25 years and it doesn’t look like dehydration to me,” Paul, an ophthalmologist, said. “It looks like a focal neurologic event”, in response to the Capitol physician clearing McConnell, claiming that he did not have stroke or seizure.
McConnell has now had two public episodes where he has freezed up. McConnell’s office blamed the incidents on light-headedness, while Capitol physician Dr. Brian Monahan blamed dehydration.
On Tuesday, Monahan said he conducted several tests on McConnell after the second incident but found no underlying neurological issues. “My examination of you following your August 30, 2023 brief episode included several medical evaluations: brain MRI imaging, EEG study and consultations with several neurologists for a comprehensive neurology assessment. There is no evidence that you have a seizure disorder or that you experienced a stroke, TIA or movement disorder such as Parkinson’s disease”, Monahan said.
“When you get dehydrated you don’t have moments where your eyes look in the distance with a vacant look and you’re sort of basically unconscious with your eyes open. That is not a symptom of dehydration,” Paul said.
Paul explained that an electroencephalogram (EEG) study cannot and should not be used to rule out a seizure disorder and that about 25% of people who experience a brain injury with experience seizures afterwards, but that 83% of those won’t show up on a EEG test because they are too small and the test is not conducted while a seizure is happening.
“When someone tells you, ‘Oh, he has a normal EEG, therefore he doesn’t have a seizure disorder,’ that’s not good medicine,” he explained.
“My point is that I’m just trying to counter the misinformation from the Senate doctor,” Paul added. “It is basically not believable to come up and say that what’s going on is dehydration. It makes it worse in the sense that by saying something that is obviously untrue, it leads to more distrust of the situation.”
Paul also said his remarks had “nothing to do with [McConnell’s] fitness to serve and whether he’s doing a good job or a bad job”.
This week McConnell said that “I think Dr [Brian P] Monahan covered [the question of my health] fully” and that he does intend to finish out his term, both as Senator and Senate Leader