LUBBOCK, Texas — Dr. Dennis Tedford of Brownfield was sentenced to five years in prison Friday morning after he admitted to prescribing controlled substances for no legitimate medical purpose.
Tedford was referred to by people he knew as a kind and gentle soul. They said he cared deeply for his patients.
The courtroom was filled with past patients, friends and family of the Brownfield doctor to show their support.
District Judge James Wesley Hendrix said he appreciated everyone showing up to the courtroom and submitting letters of support for Tedford.
Court records in May said Dr. Tedford admitted he prescribed high quantities of hydrocodone – “up to 360 tablets per month” – along with Xanax, alprazolam and carisoprodol.
“Dr. Tedford prescribed 524,777 doses of hydrocodone to 341 patients during the time period [March 2, 2016 – March 2, 2018],” previous court records said. “Dr. Tedford prescribed 96,763 doses of carisoprodol during this time period to 102 patients.”
Hendrix gave Tedford’s family an opportunity to speak.
Tedford’s daughter, Samantha Tedford, said her father was slow to anger and quick to help those in need.
“He’s hardworking,” she added. “He means a great deal to me and the community.”
Vincent Tedford, Dennis Tedford’s son, said he treasured every moment with his father.
“He’s been there,” he added. “I’ve always looked up to him. I believe in him the way he believes in myself and my family.”
Tedford’s lawyer asked Hendrix to grant him probation.
However, the defense attorney admitted that even though Tedford’s actions of good outweighed the bad, they added that there is an opioid crisis.
“You have to be responsible and held accountable,” the defense noted since two people overdosed from prescription drugs prescribed by Tedford.
Tedford took the stand before sentencing adding how appreciative he was of the support from everyone in the courtroom.
“I try to be a kind and passionate doctor,” he said.
Tedford added that he already went before the medical board and expressed his remorse.
Hendrix noted during court that while Tedford’s license was revoked, he was put on probation.
“The board of medicine was understanding to see me for the person I am,” said Tedford. “I don’t disagree that there is an opioid crisis. But it was not prevalent in my practice.”
Hendrix took into consideration everyone’s letters that were sent to support Tedford and said he had no doubt that Tedford was everything that was described by people who knew him.
However, Hendrix said choices were made by Tedford.
“Those are facts I cannot ignore,” he said. “Proper training can be an explanation but not an excuse.”
Hendrix said five years of prison time — which was the maximum under the plea deal — were sufficient. Along with the sentence, Tedford was ordered to pay $5,000 imposed by the court, as well as $70,000 of community restitution.
He must voluntarily surrender for his prison time on January 10.
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