Mid-South doctor sentenced for unlawfully prescribing opioids that caused patient’s death

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 6:12 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Tenn. (WMC) - A Jackson physician was sentenced for unlawfully prescribing opioids that caused the death of one of his patients.

Thomas K. Ballard, III is sentenced to 20 years for one count of illegal drug distribution resulting in death after pleading guilty to the charge in June.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Ballard owned and operated Ballard Clinic where he prescribed controlled substances outside the scope of professional practice. The DOJ says the substances were not for legitimate medical purposes.

The department says Ballard’s unlawful prescribing to one patient led to her death.

According to his treatment records, he believed the patient had psychotic issues, overutilized medication, engaged in manipulation, and fabricated personal trauma. The records also indicated that the patient had been incarcerated, received prescriptions elsewhere for Suboxone, which is used to treat opioid dependency disorder, and the patient had abnormal drug testing results because of what Ballard believed to be tampering.

Ballard still repeatedly prescribed the patient hydrocodone. He prescribed her hydrocodone May 28, 2015 and she fatally overdosed on the drug the next day.

DOJ also says Ballard also engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with several female patients and ignored red flags that they were abusing the medications that he prescribed.

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