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Senator does shoveling, then free eye surgeries

BY DAVID ZOELLER dzoeller@paducahsun.com

Dr. Barbara Bowers and a special guest went from ceremonial shoveling to performing cataract surgery Tuesday.

It was all part of a busy day for the local ophthalmologist as she first broke ground on an expansion of her business, Innovative Ophthalmology, and later performed surgery alongside U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Bowling Green, himself an eye surgeon.

The groundbreaking officially began construction of the new medical facility at the corner of Lone Oak Road and Highland Boulevard. Following that ceremony, the two surgeons performed pro bono eye operations together, a process they began a couple of years ago at the Paducah Ambulatory Surgery Center.

"I really enjoy doing our surgeries together for patients in western Kentucky that have no insurance," Bowers said. "I hope this new facility will allow us to provide services to a larger number of people."

According to Bowers, "He (Paul) is a fantastic eye surgeon. He is blessed with a skill he refuses to stop using even though he cannot be compensated for it."

Paul was equally complimentary of his surgical partner for the day.

"I've gotten to know Dr. Bowers because she has allowed me to come in and do charity surgeries," Paul said. "The charity goes beyond her just getting the patients. She has to do all of the follow-ups, and she does all of this for free. She finds people often who have been waiting a year, or two or three. Those cases are often the most challenging."

Seeing someone who could otherwise not get needed medical attention is rewarding, according to Paul.

"You've never seen people so happy, those who have no money and no insurance, to get something like this. They are very appreciative," Paul said. "I couldn't do it without Dr. Bowers. It's important that we have businesses that are successful, but it's also important that we have people who give back to the community."

The new 15,000 square-foot facility will more than double the size of the current location at 632 Lone Oak Road. The construction represents an investment of approximately $2.6 million, according to Bowers' husband, David Hoffman, administrator of the business.

The surgical operation has grown significantly over four years.

"We've come a long way. We now have two doctors, myself and Dr. Timothy Hobbs, and another doctor on the way," Bowers said.

Bowers specializes in refractive and cataract surgery, and treats patients with a variety of other needs. Bringing in doctors with other sub-specialties, such as glaucoma, will allow the practice to better meet the needs of all its patients, Hoffman said.

Paul said he was glad to help call attention to positive economic news.

"We don't always have good news," the senator said. "There is concern about jobs in Paducah and Kentucky in general, and about medicine in general. So when we can take part in something that is an expansion of medical jobs for Paducah, I'm excited to be a part of that."

Contact David Zoeller, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8676.

Comments made about this article - 1 Total

George Kyrinsian posted on: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 2:26 PM

Title: Better Off

Our country and our state would be much better off if Rand Paul would stick to eye surgery

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