LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Even though Dr. Alexander Orlov is headed towards a federal prison cell for a medicare/medicaid fraud conviction, patients of the disgraced doctor are still supporting him.
They want a chance to tell the community why he is so important to them.
"He has helped me more than any other doctor in my entire life," said Debra Van Ness, long-time Orlov patient.
"Without Dr. Orlov, I don't know what I'll do," said Sandra Rains.
These women are just two of Dr. Orlov's patients, and they're standing behind him.
"It just doesn't seem fair to pull a physician out of practice who has such a following of dedicated patients," said Van Ness.
Van Ness is a registered nurse. As a medical professional herself, she says Orlov took the fall for his unlicensed assistant, Haseeb Rehman.
"Ambivalent, almost outraged because the physician assistant who was not actually a physician assistant. From what I hear, he got off scott free," said Van Ness.
Rains and Van ness joined other supporters to make the trek Monday to federal court in Beaumont.
Over a 100 patients showed up for the sentencing. They wanted the judge to know that Alexander Orlov was more than a doctor to him.
"We thought we could help with the sentencing. We need Dr. Orlov in Lufkin so bad,"said Rains.
Standing with Orlov in court is only one way patients are showing unwavering loyalty.
"Many, many letters that were written because people wanted to show their support for Alexander Orlov," said Van Ness.
Both women depend on the doctor, saying they owe him for their health.
"When I first started coming to him, I could not walk. I was in a wheel chair," said Rains.
"When he was my doctor he was a mainstay for my ability to function and work," said Van Ness.
Their relationships with Orlov make it difficult for them to believe he meant to do wrong.
"I do not believe for any minute that he ever intended for this kind of problem to come his way and neither did his patients," said Van Ness.
We're told there was standing-room-only during the sentencing. The women say the courtroom filled with tears when the judge sent him to prison. And again when Orlov apologized for what happened.