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Corneal cross-linking

Dr. Christopher Croasdale prepares to perform corneal cross-linking earlier this year at SSM Health David Duehr Dean Eye Care in Madison. The procedure is an alternative to cornea transplants for some patients.

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit by Madison-based Lions Eye Bank of Wisconsin against Dr. Brian Peterson, Milwaukee County’s medical examiner.

The suit in August alleged that Peterson, who switched to Seattle-based SightLife for cornea recoveries in June, excluded the eye bank from recovering corneas in violation of state law.

Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Ellen Brostrom dismissed the case last month.

Darise Langham, executive director of the nonprofit Lions Eye Bank, said Tuesday the judge determined that a state statute requiring tissue banks to operate in the best interest of the communities they serve doesn’t apply to eye banks.

The ruling is “very disappointing,” Langham said in a statement. “We had hoped that the court would provide us, and our great Wisconsin residents who choose eye/cornea donations, the same protections it provides to those donor recovery agencies who recover other tissues such as skin, bone, tendons and veins.”

The eye bank will “discuss this technical error in the law with Wisconsin lawmakers in an effort to get a correction in the law expedited,” Langham said.

Margaret Daun, corporation counsel for Milwaukee County, told the Wisconsin State Journal in August that Peterson’s agreement is with the Wisconsin Tissue Bank and complies with the law.

The tissue bank is part of the Blood Center of Wisconsin, which in June announced a partnership with SightLife, a nonprofit with a for-profit subsidiary.

“I am happy to have had my name, and the reputation of my office, cleared by the definitive outcome of this lawsuit,” Peterson, chairman of an advisory board for the organ donor part of the blood center, said in a statement Tuesday. “I am confident that Wisconsin Tissue Bank and their new partner, SightLife, will continue their excellent work for our community.”

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David Wahlberg is the health and medicine reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.