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Dermatologist impaired, attorney says

The claim: Because of old head injuries, a doctor convicted of fraud is unfit to continue with sentencing.

Published August 23, 2006

TAMPA - Not only was Michael Rosin once among the most respected dermatologists in Sarasota, he graduated with honors from the University of Florida and has an IQ of 127.

But on Tuesday, Rosin's attorney argued that two accidents - one while he was in college, the other in 2001 - gave him head trauma that now prevents him from participating in his criminal sentencing hearing.

In March, a federal jury found Rosin guilty of 70 charges of health care and Medicare fraud for falsely diagnosing patients with skin cancer and then performing unnecessary and invasive surgeries. He faces at least 30 years in prison.

Rosin's first sentencing hearing was in June. A second was held in July, but the sentencing has been delayed because of the time needed for victim testimony, a dispute over restitution and other matters. When that spilled over, a third hearing was scheduled for Tuesday.

Defense attorney Joel Hirschhorn added the latest wrinkle Tuesday when he told U.S. District Judge William J. Castagna his client was mentally unfit to continue with the sentencing.

Hirschhorn said the trauma came from a nasty fall Rosin took during a pickup game of basketball at UF in 1969. The spill landed Rosin in the hospital for a week, according to court testimony.

The other incident was in 2001, when Rosin rolled his car while driving in Marion County.

Hirschhorn called a Miami neuropsychologist, Hyman Eisenstein, to testify about Rosin's condition.

Eisenstein said Rosin told him he suffers from short blackouts, a possible symptom of epilepsy.

"For 20 seconds at a time, we're talking total fog out," Eisenstein said. "It's like he isn't there."

He diagnosed Rosin with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder and said he may also have dementia.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Ho questioned Eisenstein's theories. She noted Rosin was able to perform Mohs surgery, a complicated procedure that requires removal of several layers of tissue.

Castagna is expected to rule on Rosin's competency today.

Carrie Weimar can be reached at 813 226-3416 or

[Last modified August 23, 2006, 01:28:21]

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