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By CINDY SIMPSON
Five generations have been doctored by a hometown Harriman girl, and Dr. Mimi
Tedder has no plans to stop now.
As of this summer, Tedder, a 1969 Harriman High School graduate, has practiced family medicine in her hometown for 30 years. She began practice in July 1979.
After graduating from the University of Tennessee School of Medicine and putting in a three-year residency at UT Medical Center, Tedder had a clear idea of her next move.
“I always wanted to come back home,” Tedder said. “I’m a big family person. I really can’t imagine (living) anyplace else.”
Tedder went into family practice to provide care for “the whole family.” Those families can be extended — up to five generations in her care.
“I have two families I’ve done that with,” Tedder said.
“The practice is aging with me,” she added. “I have a lot of patients I’ve taken care of literally 30 years.”
With an ample patient load, Tedder doesn’t take new patients — unless the new patient is a relation to a current patient.
Tedder first started her practice in Roane County with Pat Eachus, with whom she shared classes and residency.
“We started at the same time in the same office,” Tedder said. That office was right across Devonia Street from the hospital.
After a year, Eachus went back to the University of Tennessee, later joining the medical staff with the Lady Vols and now working for the Tennessee Department of Health.
Around 1990, Tedder moved to the gray brick building on Devonia Street where she is now.
It didn’t take her long to build the practice she has today.
“It is a small town. I had a list of people that wanted to be my patient before I even got here,” Tedder said.
It helped that some doctors had moved elsewhere about the time that she arrived.
“The Lord moved me in at a time when there was a need,” she said.
“We were real busy from day one, blessed and highly favored,” she added.
Not only has her practice aged with her, but she also has seen family practice change over the years.
“When I first started practice we didn’t have CAT scans,” Tedder said. “There is a wealth of knowledge that didn’t even exist.”
Diagnoses have changed as well. For example, parameters in place to diagnose diabetes were not in place as they are today.
The development of new medicines has grown by leaps and bounds.
Things like that seem “really simple now,” she said.
Tedder continues to study, as any board-certified physician is required. She said she put in 300 hours every six years to stay certified.
“You want to stay as up as you can and give them good care,” Tedder added.
Some changes in her practice have been more of a struggle. Two years ago, her husband and former high school sweetheart, Wendell, died.
“I still miss him so,” Tedder said.
Wendell was like a partner in the practice. He helped pick the building she is in now and helped her run the business end of things.
“He took care of everything. I didn’t have to do anything but doctor,” Tedder said.
Caring for the sick seems to run in Tedder’s family. She is the grandniece of Dr. Tom Bowman, who helped build the Harriman medical community, and her three sons all have a hand in health care.
Her eldest son, Chase Tedder, a Harriman city councilman, is an emergency medical technician. Chance, 23, recently earned his degree in nursing from Tennessee Technological University, and Case holds a degree in biology from Carson-Newman College.
As for Tedder, her work is her calling. She has no plans of retiring anytime soon.
“I guess the Lord put me on this corner; I guess he’ll take me off it,” Tedder said.
“I’m going to work as long as I can in hopes I will have the grace to know when I should step back.”