Former doctor to serve prison sentence after teen overdoses

A former pain management doctor in Santa Rosa was sentenced to 30 months in prison for prescribing dangerous controlled substances to a 17-year-old patient who later fatally overdosed, announced the U.S. Department of Justice.     

On Friday, a federal judge issued a prison sentence for Thomas Keller, 75, who was found guilty of four counts of unlawful distribution of controlled substances in November.    

According to court documents, Keller knowingly and repeatedly prescribed strong, addictive opioids to a 17-year-old patient before she died of an overdose in 2017. The dosages and combination of the drugs "far exceeded the usual course" of medical practice, and were prescribed without "legitimate medical need," said the DOJ.   

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The patient died from an overdose after being prescribed a combination of an opioid, a benzodiazepine and a Soma - a combination of medications known to be extremely dangerous.   

The teen was also struggling with mental health issues before she came to Keller, the DOJ said.     

Keller was ordered to surrender on Sept. 8 and a three-year term of supervised release after he serves his sentence.