Memphis psychiatrist Richard Farmer was taken into custody of the U.S. Marshals as his sixty years of practice culminated in disgrace.
MEMPHIS: Dr. Richard G. Farmer, age 82, was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 11, 2019 on charges that he “issued prescriptions for controlled substances… at his medical clinic in Memphis, Tennessee, outside the usual scope of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose, and often in exchange for sexual favors or companionship.”
[Farmer] issued prescriptions for controlled substances… outside the usual scope of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose, and often in exchange for sexual favors or companionship.
The indictment states that Farmer often prescribed Oxycodone—a Schedule II drug that is highly addictive and has a high potential for abuse—along with Alprazolam (Xanax), a combination that is well-known to have a significant risk factor.
Farmer “often did not see or treat his purported patients before prescribing controlled substances.” The indictment notes that one woman was prescribed Oxycodone before, during and after pregnancy, with no legitimate medical purpose. According to the US National Library of Medicine, regular use of oxycodone during pregnancy may cause life-threatening withdrawal systems after birth.
Farmer attempted to conceal his activities by keeping no, or in some cases “woefully inadequate,” files on his purported patients. The indictment lists five such patients by initials only: MT, WW, JT, TT, JG.
Earlier Discipline and Patient Deaths
This is not Farmer’s first career disaster.
In December 1996 he surrendered his medical license in California, giving up all rights to practice in that state, in response to an incident that began as early as 1986. At that time, he saw patient KL and, without obtaining her earlier medical records, prescribed her a potentially lethal dose of imipramine. He continued to increase her dosage over the next two and a half years until she died from complications of an overdose. During that period, he only saw her three times. The medical board deemed his conduct gross negligence and/or incompetence.
Earlier, in 1970 while he served as chief of psychiatry at John Gaston Hospital in Memphis, Farmer and Dr. Allen Battle formed the Richard G. Farmer & Allen O. Battle Crisis Center soon after a patient of Farmer’s committed suicide.
Training and Education
Farmer did his undergraduate work and obtained his medical degree in Tennessee:
- B.S. at University of Tennessee, Knoxville
- M.D. at University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Memphis, TN
He did an internship at the National Naval Medical Center (now known as the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center) in Bethesda, Maryland.
His website lists residencies at:
- National Naval Medical Center, Psychiatry
- Naval Hospital Oakland (aka Oak Knoll Naval Hospital), Psychiatry
- University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Psychiatry
- Instructer [sic] of Psychiatry, Pacific Presbyterian Medical Center, San Francisco, CA
- Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN
- Promoted to full Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center
- Interim Chairman, Department of Psychiatry from July 2001 to July 2005
- Certified as Diplomat, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
Farmer claims membership in the following organizations:
- The American Medical Association
- The American Psychiatric Association
- The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry
- The American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology, Inc.
Request for Information
Farmer is known to have practiced in Maryland and California before finally settling in Memphis. He may have practiced in Mississippi or other states. He was sued for malpractice in Tennessee in 2018 in a case that apparently settled out of court.
Due to his practice of keeping no or inadequate files, there is a real concern that there may be additional victims stretching back many years and over a wide geographic area.
CCHR Nashville wishes to speak with the victims named by initials in this current suit, and has pledged to maintain confidentiality. Anyone with further information about this case or others should contact CCHR through cchrnashville.org.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Richard Guerard Farmer, a psychiatrist of Memphis, Tennessee who is the subject of this article, is not to be confused with Dr. Richard G. Farmer, the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York.