Before granting his request to get out of prison early, Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Gene Zmuda on Monday asked a former Maumee cardiologist what he’d learned behind bars.
“You’ve grown a beard,” the judge said to Barry DeRan, 55, of Lambertville. “So, tell me about your experience.”
DeRan hesitated slightly and replied, “It’s not one I’d wish on anyone.”
DeRan, who surrendered his medical license, pleaded guilty July 23 to four counts each of trafficking in drugs and attempted trafficking in drugs. He admitted he improperly prescribed the pain medication OxyContin on multiple occasions in 2009 to people he knows or people referred to him but who were not his patients. He was sentenced to 28 months in prison but was released Monday after serving just three months.
Judge Zmuda said DeRan “did not technically receive money” for the prescriptions, which “is in large measure why you’re brought back now. If you’d just done what was typically done, which is write bad scripts and get the money, that would’ve resulted in a longer prison term.”
DeRan’s attorney Rick Kerger said in his motion for early release that DeRan did not benefit financially but that “his sole intent was to treat the people he understood to be in pain and without the means to obtain the medication needed for relief.”
Despite the early release, DeRan still has a potential federal prison sentence hanging over his head. He is to be sentenced Feb. 10 in U.S. District Court on one count of conspiracy and eight counts of aiding and abetting making false statements in the acquisition of firearms.
As conditions of his release, Judge Zmuda placed DeRan on community control for four years and ordered him to perform 200 hours of community service by volunteering at the Cordelia Martin Health Center or the Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center Hope for Families Program. The service hours are to be completed by his Feb. 10 sentencing.
DeRan told the court that in prison, he learned to be accountable for his actions, that illegal activity is not worth the consequences.
The judge said he’d gotten a positive report about DeRan’s three months in the state prison system.
“It’s not a pleasant experience, but you survived,” the judge told him, noting that DeRan was quickly moved to a minimum security level, performed the jobs he was assigned well, and even completed a first-time offenders orientation program.
“I’ve never had a defendant do that so it strikes me that — and I’m not surprised by that — that you had taken the time to not become bitter about being sent to prison but to use it to reflect,” Judge Zmuda said.
Mr. Kerger told the court DeRan would like to speak to medical groups free of charge about his experience and explain how easy the mistakes he made can occur and undermine a career.
Judge Zmuda encouraged DeRan to do just that.
“I certainly would encourage you to pursue that — speaking to the doctors of the state and say how slippery a slope and how slight a slip it has to take for you to end up where I am,” the judge said.
After the hearing, Mr. Kerger said he was “pleased that Judge Zmuda analyzed the matter as we had hoped he would and released Barry so he can start putting his life back together and being a positive force in our community once again.”