Doctor sentenced to jail after choking nurse

Published: Jun. 23, 2020 at 1:56 PM MDT
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A Colorado doctor will be spending 30 days in jail for choking a nurse.

Mark Randle Ryan, 58, was handed his sentence Monday more than three months after he pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree assault by strangulation and one count of third-degree assault.

Ryan was working as a contract anesthesiologist at Sky Ridge Medical Center on Oct. 8, 2018 when he got into an argument with the charge nurse in the recovery room about him turning off the vital-sign machines of patients recovering from surgery.

The nurse told Ryan not to turn the machine off, and he grabbed her by the throat in response, squeezing her neck so hard she felt pain and saw stars, according to the report by Lone Tree police officers.

"Mark Ryan strangled me in a recovery room filled with patients and staff in a selfish act of violence,” the nurse told Judge Theresa Slade during sentencing. “I was assaulted by a man who took an oath to do no harm. I feel he might have killed me if no one else would have been around.”

Slade cited Ryan's lack of empathy, as well as the lasting damaging choking can have on a victim, when sentencing him.

“This happened in front of other patients and in front of other professionals,” Slade told Ryan. “When you did this to [the nurse], she couldn’t care for other patients, and you put them at risk. You don’t get to act this way, ever.”

Along with jail time, Ryan was sentenced to 100 hours of community service, mental health treatment and anger management therapy. He relinquished his medical,l license.

District Attorney George Brauchler released a statement after Ryan's sentencing.

“Few people in society have as much responsibility as the medical professionals we trust to treat us in the hospital. This defendant was an anesthesiologist, who worked in stressful situations every day to monitor patients during surgery. No occupation, regardless of stress, provides an excuse for assault, especially strangulation. The message here is clear: Teacher, electrician, attorney or doctor … viciously attack a coworker and go to jail.”