Saudi Arabian King Abdullah Had a Strong Link to East Texas
TYLER (KYTX)- Saudi Arabian King Abdullah was buried in front of hundreds of thousands of mourners on Friday, but there's also a man in East Texas grieving the loss of King Abdullah.
Doctor Kevin Pauza has his fair share of high profile patients, but none are more special to him than Saudi Arabian King Abdullah.
“I really know him very well, I know him better than any diplomat in the US because I've spent a lot of time with him, personally and professionally,” Dr. Kevin Pauza, co-founder and co-owner of Texas Spine and Joint Hospital.
Pauza specializes in treating severe spinal disorders, which Abdullah had. Abdullah's personal physicians heard about Pauza and requested he treat the king.
“I originally said no many times just because my practice is busy and then I got a call from the White House requesting that I do treat King Abdullah because it would be in the best interest of the United States if I could help him and so I couldn't say no to that,” Pauza said.
From then on, he was the right hand man to Abdullah. He's been to Saudi Arabia many times, as a guest of one of the richest men in the world.
“I flew to Saudi Arabia because the king wanted a new mattress so I bought a new mattress and later I bought a new pillow. Just for fun I asked one of the assistants what the fuel cost was for that 737 and he said each flight was about 2 million dollars,” Pauza said.
Abdullah and his family have visited Tyler many times as well.
“It's interesting to know too that they love Tyler because I offered to have officers in New York City and in Boston and they said we like Tyler, it's easy, it's enjoyable, there's no paparazzi,” Pauza said.
Pauza is mourning the loss of his friend, but also an ally of the U.S.
“It was sad because I was concerned about the United States,” Pauza said.
Though Abdullah has passed, Pauza's relationship with the Saudi Arabian royal family isn't over. The new king, Abdullah's half-brother Prince Salman is a client of Pauza's.
“I can say he's a very intelligent person, well-spoken, who understands the western world but just like most families, brothers have different personalities and he has a different personality,” Pauza said.
Pauza didn't only treat the members of the Abdullah family when they came to Tyler. King Abdullah had a hospital built for Pauza in Saudi Arabia so the doctor can take care of them here and there. Watch the full story here.