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Suit: Surgeon used experimental tool

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 12, 2000

TAMPA -- A patient of eye surgeon and former University of South Florida professor James Rowsey filed a lawsuit Friday that accuses the ophthalmologist of using an experimental surgical tool without proper consent.

It's a charge Rowsey has faced before, from USF and from national boards such as the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Friday's lawsuit, filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court, claims Rowsey did not tell the patient he was using an experimental tool during a June 1995 cornea transplant. The patient, Harry David Rogers, said he was left legally blind after an unsuccessful surgery in which Rowsey used the Tampa Trephine, a surgical knife he developed while at USF.

Attorney John MacKay, who filed the suit, said Rogers, then 80, didn't know Rowsey had used the procedure until four years after his surgery. "He has not been able to drive, play tennis or golf since the surgery," MacKay said.

The lawsuit also names the Ambulatory Surgery Center at 4500 E Fletcher Ave., where the surgery was performed. Rowsey now practices privately. He could not be reached for comment but has previously said there is nothing experimental about use of the trephine.

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