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Lone Tree doctor sentenced for choking nurse in front of patients

Mark Ryan, 58, was also sentenced to 100 hours of community service, mental health treatment and anger management therapy.

LONE TREE, Colo. — A Lone Tree doctor will spend 30 days in jail for choking a nurse during an argument at Sky Ridge Medical Center in 2018, according to a release from the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office. 

Mark Ryan, 58, was working as a contract anesthesiologist at the hospital on Oct. 8, 2018, when he and a nurse in the recovery room had a disagreement about him turning off the vital-sign machines of patients recovering from surgery, the DA's office said. 

When a nurse attempted to remind Ryan not to turn off the machines, he grabbed her by the throat and squeezed her neck so that she "felt pain and saw stars," she told Lone Tree police officers.

According to the release, the nurse reported the incident to officials at the hospital, and later that night she contacted police, who then arrested Ryan.

“Mark Ryan strangled me in a recovery room filled with patients and staff in a selfish act of violence,” the nurse said 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.”

Ryan pleaded guilty March 9, 2020, to one count of second-degree assault by strangulation, a Class 4 felony, and one count of third-degree assault, a Class 1 misdemeanor. The DA's office said Ryan has since relinquished his medical license.

Credit: Office of the District Attorney, 18th Judicial District
58-year-old Mark Randle Ryan

Douglas County District Court Judge Theresa Slade handed down the sentence for Ryan during a hearing Monday via Webex. 

“This happened in front of other patients and in front of other professionals,” Slade told Ryan during sentencing. “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.”

Ryan's sentence includes a three-year deferred judgment on the felony count and three years probation on the misdemeanor count, as well as 100 hours of community service, mental health treatment and anger management therapy, according to the DA's office. 

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