Monday, January 22, 2018
News Roundup

Dr. Jason Bottoms admired Superman, took on tough surgeries

BELLEAIR — Dr. Jason Bottoms loved Superman. He reveled in the character's uncomplicated certainty and quiet confidence, not to mention his ability to set fires with his eyes and push earthbound meteors off course.

He never tired of watching the Superman movies of the 1970s and 1980s, even though he had already seen them dozens of times. The same went for Smallville, a now-defunct television series about the boyhood of Clark Kent. He watched reruns of the show as he dressed for work as a podiatrist in Clearwater and Tampa.

One key difference between Superman and Dr. Bottoms: the superhero was born that way. The podiatrist was a lifelong overachiever.

Diagnosed with diabetes as a child, he channeled a quirky optimism to his benefit in football and schoolwork.

The podiatrist had served as president of the Hillsborough component of the Florida Podiatric Medical Association.

He was also engaged to be married — until an unexpected medical event cut a bright future short.

Dr. Bottoms died of unknown causes March 23 at Morton Plant Hospital. He was 33.

"He was just a brilliant surgeon, a bright young doctor on the verge of a partnership track with us," said Dr. Wes Sykes of the Ankle and Foot Center of Tampa Bay.

Among his specialties were ankle replacements, which can increase pain-free weight bearing and range of motion for patients whose ankles have been injured or have deteriorated through arthritis. While total ankle replacements have been around for more than 30 years, recent breakthroughs have greatly increased their popularity.

Dr. Bottoms favored the Wright Inbone system, in which a rod drilled into the shin bone connects to a prosthesis. Ankle replacements more than doubled in the United States last year, according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

"He was our most progressive surgeon," Sykes said. "He took on anything, basically."

Born in Naples, Dr. Bottoms moved to St. Petersburg with his family at age 3. He was diagnosed with diabetes at 6. At 10, he announced that he would grow up to be a doctor.

"At Lakewood (High School), he was a skinny kid who joined the football team," said Constance Tindell, his mother. "The next thing I knew he was the most improved player, most valuable player and then all-county."

The offensive lineman went to Widener University in Chester, Pa., on an academic scholarship but continued to play football, at one point bulking up to 300 pounds. At Barry University's School of Podiatric Medicine, Dr. Bottoms hit the gym and shed the weight.

He started entering bodybuilding contests.

"I think Superman appealed to him because he was one of those guys who was above it all," said Dr. Julio Ortiz, a south Florida podiatrist who was his roommate then. "He's the ultimate goody-two-shoes, he never does anything wrong."

He was engaged to Jessica Bruns, a physician's assistant he had met at Morton Plant.

Dr. Bottoms entered Morton Plant on March 22, complaining of chest pains, his family said. He was later discharged. On March 23, he was taken back to the hospital, where he died.

Bruns said that a previously undetected infection around the heart might have contributed to Dr. Bottoms' death. The Pinellas-Pasco County Medical Examiner's Office has conducted an autopsy and is awaiting multiple test results.

The family of Dr. Bottoms is trying to cope.

"It's like a nightmare you keep hoping you'll wake up from," his mother said.

Bruns, 32, had expected to marry Dr. Bottoms within a year and start a family. With his powerful physique and clean-cut looks, he reminded her of a certain superhero.

One incident from his practice still makes her smile. While treating a patient, Dr. Bottoms was faced with a surprising question from the woman's 6-year-old son.

"Are you Superman?"

Dr. Bottoms told the boy no.

"He couldn't tell you if he was," the boy's mother said.

Andrew Meacham can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2248.

Comments
Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning shut out Blackhawks

Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning shut out Blackhawks

CHICAGO — Turns out, Andrei Vasilevskiy is all right.And, believe it or not, so is the Lightning’s penalty kill, which was the unlikely hero in Monday’s streak-snapping 2-0 win over the Blackhawks at the United Center.Vasilevskiy, 23, played like the...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Back to work: Government shutdown ending as Dems relent

Back to work: Government shutdown ending as Dems relent

New York TimesWASHINGTON — Congress brought an end to a three-day government shutdown on Monday as Senate Democrats buckled under pressure to adopt a short-term spending bill to fund government operations without first addressing the fate of young un...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Male bicyclist struck, killed by vehicle in Pinellas Park

PINELLAS PARK — A male bicyclist was struck and killed by a vehicle on U.S. 19 on Monday night, according to Pinellas Park police.The incident took place at about 8:30 p.m. along the 8000 block of U.S. 19 N, near the Walmart Supercenter.The driver wa...
Updated: 3 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Jan. 22

Monday’s scoreboardBoys soccerPalm Harbor U. 3, Clearwater 0Boca Ciega 3, Indian Rocks Christian 1Girls soccerClass 4A, District 10: Countryside 7, Clearwater 0; Dixie Hollins 2, East Lake 0Class 3A, District 10: Osceola 14, Gibbs 0...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Mon., Jan. 22, midday:49 851 5049e_SRit11446Mon., Jan. 22, evening:05 733 5365e_SRit06330Fantasy 5Mon., Jan. 22...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Glass art shines at St. Petersburg’s new Imagine Museum

Glass art shines at St. Petersburg’s new Imagine Museum

ST. PETERSBURGThe bay area’s thriving glass art scene adds another member to its ranks today when the Imagine Museum officially opens in downtown St. Petersburg.Dedicated to the movement of studio glass, the museum is the brainchild of benefactor Tri...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Facebook vows progress in halting election meddling

Facebook said Monday that it fell short in preventing the social media network from being used for foreign meddling in the U.S. presidential election.New blog posts written by Facebook executives appear to be the most critical self-assessment yet of ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Judge: Victims of sports doc are ‘sister survivor warriors’

Judge: Victims of sports doc are ‘sister survivor warriors’

Associated PressLANSING, Mich. — The judge overseeing the sentencing of disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar said Monday that more than 120 girls and women who had given statements so far at the five-day hearing were "sister survivor warriors....
Updated: 5 hours ago
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri severs contract with CareerSource Pinellas

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri severs contract with CareerSource Pinellas

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri severed his agency’s contract with CareerSource Pinellas on Monday after learning that the jobs center told the state it helped 624 sheriff’s employees get hired since 2014.The sheriff said he has no record of CareerSou...
Updated: 5 hours ago

TexasVoter-fraud panel targeted Hispanics, documents showPresident Donald Trump’s voter-fraud commission specifically asked for records identifying all Texas voters with Hispanic surnames, according to newly released documents. Records made public by...
Updated: 6 hours ago