Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jill Kelley's husband Scott is a well-liked and respected surgeon at Lakeland clinic

TAMPA — Dr. Richard Karl, the founding medical director at Moffitt Cancer Center, hired Dr. Scott Kelley in the department of surgery there after he completed a two-year fellowship in 2003.

Kelley "was a highly talented guy. Great interpersonal skills,'' Karl said on Tuesday.

"He and his wife were very charming when I knew them back then."

Karl, who now is a surgeon in the department of Gastrointestinal Oncology, said he hasn't been in touch with Kelley since he left Moffitt. He remembers him as "just a great guy, warm, welcoming, a great surgeon, an Ivy League pedigree.''

The Kelleys were known for their "extravagant parties; there was always more than you could possibly eat," he said.

In addition to his position at Moffitt, he held various faculty positions at USF Health between 2003 and 2010, according to university records.

He was an "excellent surgeon. Great personality. Well-liked by staff and colleagues. Easy to work with when we had joint patients together,'' wrote a former Moffitt colleague, Dr. Tapan Padhya, in an e-mail to the Times on Tuesday.

Padhya is director of the division of head and neck oncology at USF Health, and part of the head and neck oncology program at Moffitt.

He said Kelley moved to Lakeland to start a esophageal cancer/surgical oncology program at Lakeland Regional Medical Center.

He established his practice in 2008 at the 200-physician Watson Clinic in Lakeland, a well-regarded practice that's one of the biggest in the area. In a year-old, online video from the Watson clinic, Kelley talks about pioneering single incision laparascopic surgery in Lakeland for colon and gallbladder procedures, saying they offer quicker recovery times with less scarring.

Officials at the Watson clinic declined comment on Tuesday.

State health department records indicate that Kelley has a clear and active license with no record of complaints.

However, in September, Kelley and surgeon Andrew Sherman were sued for the wrongful 2010 death of a man named Steven B. Schubert who, according to the suit, died a "slow and painful death" as the result of an ill-planned hernia surgery.

Schubert, a 48-year-old pilot, husband and father-of-two, had a diaphragmatic hernia, a hole in the abdominal cavity, which allowed some of the contents of his abdomen to get pushed up into his chest cavity. According to family attorney Andrew Yaffa, Kelley did not take into account that Schubert was slim and in shape, and after the surgery, there was not enough space in his abdomen to fit the contents that were pushed back in.

He was dead two weeks after the surgery, a result of end-stage organ failure.

"He died a horrible, slow death right in front of his wife and two daughters," Yaffa said. "He was her soul mate. They had a great family life. The family is devastated and ruined over the loss of this man."

Yaffa said the surgery was unnecessary, and the suit says Schubert saw two doctors before Kelley who said he did not need surgery.

Kelley, who has not yet filed a court response to the suit, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Times staff writers Alexandra Zayas and Letitia Stein contributed to this report.

Jill Kelley's husband Scott is a well-liked and respected surgeon at Lakeland clinic 11/14/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 1:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Motorcycle passenger critically injured in crash on USF campus


    TAMPA — A crash that occurred Thursday night on the University of South Florida Tampa campus sent a motorcycle passenger to the hospital in critical condition.

  2. Forecast: Warm, humid weekend ahead of big cool-down for Tampa Bay


    The weekend kicks off warm and dry on Friday across Tampa Bay with mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 80s.

  3. U.S.-backed Syrian force declares victory over Islamic State in Raqqa


    BEIRUT — A U.S.-backed Syrian force declared victory over the Islamic State group in its former "capital" of Raqqa on Friday, declaring the northern Syrian city free of any extremist presence.

    This Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017 frame grab made from drone video shows damaged buildings in Raqqa, Syria two days after Syrian Democratic Forces said that military operations to oust the Islamic State group have ended and that their fighters have taken full control of the city. [Associated Press]
  4. Florida education news: Lawsuits, lawyers, school board pay and more


    IN COURT: A former Hillsborough County school district top administrator sues the School Board and its chief of staff, alleging board member corruption and …

    Hillsborough School Board member Susan Valdes is the subject of several allegations in a former employee's scathing lawsuit.
  5. Clearwater eyes hiring new downtown director within two months

    CLEARWATER — Now that the city director tasked with revitalizing downtown has resigned after his arrest on a battery charge during Oktoberfest, City Manager Bill Horne said the goal is to not leave the position vacant long.

    Clearwater Assistant City Manager  Micah Maxwell will oversee downtown until the city hires a replacement for Seth Taylor.