A once-successful and highly regarded cardiologist was sentenced to 28 months in prison Friday for distributing prescription pain medication to people who weren’t his patients.
Barry DeRan, 55, of Lambertville made no statements in Lucas County Common Pleas Court before Judge Gene Zmuda imposed the prison term.
DeRan, who surrendered his state medical license, pleaded guilty July 23 to four counts each of trafficking in drugs and attempted trafficking in drugs.
DeRan admitted he improperly prescribed the pain medication OxyContin on multiple occasions in 2009 to people he knows or those referred to him but who were not patients of his.
Kathryn Sandretto, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, told the court her office was ready to present witnesses who would have testified that DeRan received both money and pills for writing the prescriptions.
The judge said the crimes DeRan committed paint a different picture than the compassionate physician described in numerous letters of support.
“I think there’s something else going on,” the judge told DeRan. “I think what’s really going on is that compassion that clearly drove you to become a doctor in the first place and drove you to be the kind of doctor you have been was corrupted.”
Judge Zmuda said something beyond poor record-keeping or a desire to help those in need was behind his actions.
“No physician has the right to take a prescription and give it to somebody who isn’t his or her patient,” the judge said. “That’s a crime because that’s no different than the drug dealer out on the street. And whether your motivation is altruistic because you’re trying to help somebody who doesn’t have insurance or whether it’s because, as is indicated here, you want to somehow get drugs back or you want money or for some other benefit — firearms — it’s still a crime.”
In a separate case, DeRan pleaded guilty Aug. 27 in U.S. District Court to one count of conspiracy and eight counts of aiding and abetting making false statements in the acquisition of firearms. He had admitted he purchased firearms from an Internet dealer by having an employee from his medical practice pretend to be the buyer.
DeRan was prohibited from legally buying guns at the time because he was under a one-year civil protection order from Lucas County Common Pleas Court.
In court Friday, defense attorney Rick Kerger asked the court to place DeRan on community control.
He said he’d never had more expressions of support for a client, particularly from former patients who hold him in high regard.
“In a period of his life when he was under considerable stress, he made some bad decisions,” Mr. Kerger said. “He’s admitted that. He recognizes that. It’s cost him his profession. It’s cost him his avocation. . . . It can’t be changed and that’s a considerable sentence in and of itself.”
Judge Zmuda said DeRan could report on Monday to begin serving his sentence. He is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 30 in federal court on the weapons charges.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.