Mark Ryan's sentencing comes three months after he pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree assault

By Harriet Sokmensuer
June 26, 2020 05:21 PM

A former doctor in Colorado who claimed he blacked out when he choked a nurse at work has been sentenced to 30 days in jail.

In addition to spending 30 days behind bars, former anesthesiologist Mark Ryan was sentenced to anger management classes, mental health treatment and 100 hours of community service, CBS4 , KKTV and KUSA report.

Ryan's sentencing comes three months after he pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree assault by strangulation and one count of third-degree assault.

On Oct. 8, 2018, Ryan choked nurse Beth Duche at Sky Ridge Medical Center. He and Duche got into an argument when Ryan started turning off the vital-sign machines of patients recovering from surgeries. Duche tried to stop Ryan, who then became violent.

During a sentencing hearing on Monday, Douglas County Judge Judge Theresa Slade heard from both Ryan and his victim.

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

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"It’s hard to believe I blacked out but I really did," Ryan said of his state of mind. "All I could tell was that my hands were around, feel your jaw, feel throat, soft tissues — I did not know what was going on. I remember separating hands away from the throat.”

However, Douglas County Judge Judge Theresa Slade told Ryan she didn't find his apology to be sincere.

Following Thursday's hearing, District Attorney George Brauchler released a statement saying, "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.”