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Raynaldo Ortiz: North Texas doctor accused of tampering with IV bags pleads not guilty to multiple charges

Ortiz faces five counts of tampering with consumer products and five counts of adulteration of a drug.

DALLAS — Dr. Raynaldo Rivera Ortiz, an anesthesiologist in North Texas, has been indicted on several charges relating to accusations that he tampered with several IV bags at a Dallas surgical center. He pleaded not guilty to those charges in a courtroom on Oct. 14. 

Ortiz was indicted on Oct. 5 on five counts of tampering with consumer products and five counts of adulteration of a drug. Four of the five counts of tampering with consumer products resulting in serious bodily injury, the indictment said. 

Ortiz was suspended by the Texas Medical Board in early September after the board determined his continued practice posed "a continuing threat to public welfare." 

According to investigators, Ortiz had told a colleague he felt hospital supervisors were trying to "crucify" him over an alleged medical mistake he'd been reprimanded for shortly before he allegedly injected nerve-blocking agents and other drugs into patient IV bags at the Baylor Scott & White Surgicare North Dallas, located at 12230 Coit Road.

A criminal complaint unsealed on Sept. 15 said Ortiz's alleged tampering caused the death of fellow anesthesiologist Dr. Melanie Kaspar, 55, and caused as many as 11 other cardiac emergencies in other patients.

Hospital officials said they became aware of the tainted IV bags on Aug. 24, at which point they “paused all operations” at the North Dallas facility and notified “the appropriate local and federal authorities.” The center has since reopened. 

In each instance where patients had cardiac emergencies, the complaint said medics were able to stabilize the patients only through the use of emergency measures. The complaint also noted that most of the incidents occurred during longer surgeries that used more than one IV bag.

Investigators said complications happened in surgeries where Ortiz was not the anesthesiologist, but surveillance video from the center's operating room hallway allegedly showed Ortiz placing IV bags into a stainless steel bag warmer used by other doctors shortly before their patients experienced cardiac emergencies.

Previous disciplinary actions against Ortiz

Ortiz had been twice disciplined by the Texas Medical Board. 

Once was for failing to report a conviction for shooting a neighbor's dog in Collin County. The second was for not administering life-saving measures to a patient in distress at the North Garland Surgery Center, which resulted in Ortiz losing medical privileges at that facility. 

A third disciplinary inquiry is detailed in a criminal complaint, stating that on May 19, 2022, one of Ortiz’s patients at Surgicare North Dallas stopped breathing during a routine procedure. According to a review by the facility, Ortiz failed “to maintain the patient’s airway,” which was similar to the 2020 incident in Garland, the complaint states.

What happens next?

During a detention hearing on Monday, Sept. 19, Ortiz was ordered to remain in detention. 

An investigator at that hearing called Ortiz a "medical terrorist." 

He has not entered a plea and was granted a request for a court-appointed public defender. 

Ortiz, 59, could face life in prison if convicted on federal charges of tampering with a consumer product causing death and intentional drug adulteration.

Ortiz pleaded not guilty at his Oct. 14 court hearing.

If anyone has any additional information about the situation, or had any adverse reactions during surgery, WFAA's Investigates Team would like you to email us at investigates@wfaa.com.

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