EXCLUSIVE: Doctor, Wife, Nurses Under Federal Investigation

A Bossier City Doctor, his wife, and atleast two of his nurses are under federal investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Dr. Tandy McElwee had delivered babies in Bossier for the last thiry years.   Recently, his doors were closed to the public.  That was mainly because of health problems, but it's also because he's at the center of a federal investigation into allegations of personal and professional drug abuse.

"I have done nothing that endangered my patients," said McElwee, in an exclusive interview with KSLA News 12.

It's not necessarily what he did that has McElwee under investigation, but rather what he admits to not doing.

"Have you ever done anything illegal involving narcotics," asked reporter David Begnaud.

"Other than taking them," said McElwee.  "Nothing involving patients," asked Begnaud.   "No," he responded.  "Ever," questioned Begnaud.  "Not that I know of," responded McElwee.  "What does that mean," Begnaud said.  "Could your nurses have," Beganaud asked.  "Possibly," he admitted.  "And you just didn't know about it," asked Begnaud.  "Yes," said McElwee.

He says he put too much faith in his nurses to help him handle his practice while he handled personal health problems.

"I took Lortab in the morning so that I could get out of bed, and I took Lortab at night so that I could sleep," said McElwee.

He wouldn't say how much Lortab he took.  Back in August, the Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners asked McElwee to enter rehab after learning he had starting taking Methadone, instead of Lortab, to treat spinal stenosis.  All the while, he was practicing medicene, and while another doctor had diagnosed his disease, McElwee was treating himself.

"You wrote yourself a prescription," asked Begnaud.  "Yeah," replied McElwee.  "And you shouldn't have done it," asked Begnaud.   "Correct," he replied.

McElwee doesn't know who turned him in to the board of medical examiners, but his wife Ava says a pharmacist with a company called Safe Script refused to fill narcotic prescriptions because he was concerned about how many narcotic prescriptions were coming from McElwee's office.

"The owner of Safe Script fired him, and I think he's vindictive and he stirred this up because of it," said Ava McElwee.

When all of this happened, Ava and Tandy had just signed on with Willis Knighton.  After being in private practice for thirty years, the hospital promoted its newest team.  But before he could officially start, Tandy went on medical leave.  Ava was fired, after just two weeks on the job.  Their nurses were too.

"We are questioning some stuff," said Ava.

"I've got some questions in my mind," added McElwee.

"For your own nurses," asked Begnaud.

"Yes," he said.  "I think we were probably too lenient. We gave them a responsibility and I think that responsibility may have been abused, and it's going to come back on me.

One of their nurses, Wendy Chriss, agreed to do an interview Thursday, but cancelled at the last minute.

She maintains she did nothing wrong.

We were not able to reach the other nurse for comment.