Rand Paul questions McConnell diagnosis post-freeze ups

"My only quibble is with a diagnosis that’s clearly not accurate," Paul said.

Published: September 6, 2023 9:06pm

Kentucky Republican Rep. Rand Paul on Wednesday questioned the medical opinion of Capitol Hill attending physician Brian Monahan, who cleared Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to return to work following a second high-profile freeze.

McConnell recently froze in the face of reporter questions for roughly 30 seconds, prompting speculation as to his health and fitness for office. He previously suffered a similar freeze in July during a press conference. Prior to that, he incurred a severe concussion from a fall, which Monahan suggested may be the cause of his freezes. The doctor stated that "[o]ccasional lightheadedness is not uncommon in concussion recovery and can also be expected as a result of dehydration." 

Paul, an ophthalmologist, expressed skepticism of Monahan's comments, telling The Hill that "[w]hen 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."

"The doctor said that they ruled out seizure disorder from an EEG. A normal EEG doesn’t rule out seizures. First of all, 25 percent of people who’ve had a brain injury end up having seizures after their injury," he went on. "Now if you get an EEG and it’s normal, does that mean he doesn’t have a seizure disorder? No, that means that you didn’t find it because he didn’t have a seizure while he was having the test ... The bottom line is, it is a medical mistake to say that someone doesn’t have a seizure disorder because they have a normal EEG."

In other public comments, Paul expressed concern that Monahan had given McConnell bad medical advice and that Monahan's public statements could conceivably sow distrust among the public. He did, however, contend that he saw no evidence McConnell could not continue as the Senate Republican leader.

"I’ve had no indication that it’s affected him in any way that prevented him from being in leadership," Paul told reporters. "My only quibble is with a diagnosis that’s clearly not accurate."

McConnell, for his part, has indicated that he plans to remain in his leadership post and serve the remainder of his Senate term, which expires in early 2027.

"I’m going to finish my term as leader and I’m going to finish my Senate term," he said Wednesday.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

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