Dallas Doc on Trial for Death, Injuries in Tainted IV Case

Dr. Raynaldo Ortiz
Dr. Raynaldo Ortiz | Image by Dallas County Sheriff's Office

The trial of a Dallas doctor accused of tampering with IV bags in 2022 is set to kick off next Monday.

Dr. Raynaldo Ortiz Jr. — who once worked as an anesthesiologist at Baylor Scott & White Surgicare in North Dallas — will soon stand trial on five counts of tampering with consumer products causing death and/or serious bodily injury and five counts of adulteration of a drug. Jury selection at the Earle Cabell Federal Courthouse is scheduled for April 1, with the trial expected to run between two and three weeks.

If found guilty, Ortiz could spend the rest of his life behind bars. The 60-year-old has maintained his innocence, telling WFAA not long after his arrest, “All that stuff that they said was a lie.”

The Dallas Express was first to draw the connection between the surgical center and the anesthesiologist with a demonstrably troubled past.

As DX went on to report, a federal investigation was launched into Ortiz that returned surveillance footage of him “depositing single IV bags into the warmer in the hall outside the operating rooms” shortly before “a patient would suffer a serious complication,” per the Texas Medical Board (TMB) upon its suspension of his license in September 2022.

Moreover, Dr. Melanie Kaspar, one of Ortiz’s fellow anesthesiologists, died of a fatal heart attack after taking an IV bag home when feeling under the weather and administering it to herself. These and other IV bags were later found to have been laced with pharmaceuticals such as bupivacaine — a nerve-blocking agent — via “tiny holes in the plastic wrap,” per TMB documents.

Prosecuting attorney John de la Garza referred to Ortiz as “nothing less than a medical terrorist” in the preliminary detention hearing, as reported by The Dallas Express at the time. Alongside Kaspar’s death, investigators allegedly linked at least 11 medical emergencies involving “unexpected cardiovascular complications during otherwise unremarkable surgeries” to IV bags that were prepared while Ortiz was in the surgical unit, according to a criminal complaint obtained by The Dallas Express.

Ortiz, who has been in custody since his arrest, appeared in court for a pre-trial hearing presided over by Chief U.S. District Judge David Godbey on Tuesday. Prosecutors said they plan to present to jurors several videos allegedly showing Ortiz not only handling IV bags prior to unexpected medical emergencies but also removing drugs from an anesthesia supply cabinet, per WFAA.

However, another critical component of the case against Ortiz lies in determining his motive. Prosecutors have alleged that Ortiz spiked the IV bags in retaliation for an investigation launched by Baylor Scott & White administrators earlier that year.

Ortiz had allegedly failed to act when a patient stopped breathing during surgery — the second time he had been investigated for such an incident, which resulted in one of several disciplinary actions taken in the course of his career.

“This particular defendant has a terrible past history in terms of discipline, in terms of write-ups at a prior facility, all sorts of problems in his background,” Paul Coggins, a former U.S. attorney, told Fox 4 KDFW.

In fact, as covered by DX, Ortiz’s indictment fueled Texas lawmakers to close the loopholes allowing doctors in the state to avoid disclosing disciplinary actions by passing House Bill 1998 last year. The law requires the Texas Medical Board to update the National Practitioner Data Bank monthly.

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article