Oral surgeon sentenced for murdering patient turned girlfriend

A Maryland oral surgeon who was convicted of murdering his 25-year-old former patient turned girlfriend, who overdosed on a mix of prescription drugs he regularly provided, was sentenced on January 3 to 45 years in prison, according to news reports.

Dr. James Ryan. Image courtesy of Fox 5 DC.Dr. James Ryan. Image courtesy of Fox 5 DC.

Dr. James Ryan, who operated the now-shuttered Evolution Oral Surgery in Germantown, MD, had faced up to 55 years in prison for the fatal overdose of Sarah Harris, who was his patient, then a surgical technician at his practice, and eventually his live-in girlfriend.

His sentencing occurred on the nearly two-year anniversary of Harris' death. She was found dead at the home Ryan and Harris rented on January 25, 2022. Harris died from intoxication of drugs -- ketamine, propofol, and diazepam -- that were provided from Ryan’s practice and administered by him.

In March 2022, Ryan was arrested for Harris’ death after her sister provided texts to authorities revealing that Ryan was providing the drugs to the 25-year-old. Until then, her death had been considered an accident, according to police.

The investigation revealed that in January 2020, which was about three months after Harris began working for Ryan, the pair started a romantic relationship. Throughout their time as a couple, the oral surgeon purportedly used his position to provide Harris with bottles of injectable propofol, ketamine, midazolam, and diazepam, syringes, and an IV pole.

In text messages, Ryan reportedly directed Harris how to make the prescription drugs more potent and told her he would bring home saline and needles for her. Despite Harris overdosing in December 2021, Ryan purportedly continued to administer drugs to her.

In August 2022, a jury convicted the 50-year-old oral surgeon of second-degree murder and involuntary murder.


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