Trial for Dallas Doctor Over Tainted IV Bags Gets Underway

Dr. Raynaldo Rivera Ortiz Jr.
Dr. Raynaldo Rivera Ortiz Jr. | Image by U.S. Attorney's Office

The trial of a Dallas doctor accused of tampering with IV bags in 2022 began Monday, with both sides claiming to have evidence in their favor.

Dr. Raynaldo Ortiz, a former anesthesiologist at Baylor Scott & White Surgicare in North Dallas, appeared in court for the first day of his trial.

The eight women and six men selected to serve on the jury as jurors and alternates will decide whether Ortiz is guilty of spiking IV bags, causing several severe medical complications and one death. A guilty verdict of five counts of tampering with consumer products causing death and/or serious bodily injury and five counts of adulteration of a drug could see him spend the rest of his life behind bars.

As reported by The Dallas Express, a federal investigation was launched into Ortiz — who has a checkered past of disciplinary actions, assault, and animal cruelty — in late 2022 after he was linked to IV bags found to have been doctored with pharmaceuticals.

In their opening statements on Monday, prosecutors alleged that Ortiz can be linked to at least 11 medical emergencies and the death of a colleague — Dr. Melanie Kaspar — through surveillance footage capturing his “highly, highly unusual” behavior around the IV bag warming cabinet, per CBS News Texas.

Meanwhile, defense attorneys claimed to have videos refuting this characterization by showing other doctors and hospital staff behaving the same way.

“They just see what they want to see,” Ortiz’s lawyer, John Nicholson, told jurors, suggesting that “confirmation bias” put his client in prosecutors’ crosshairs, per CBS.

Testimony begins Tuesday morning, with seven doctors and four patients expected to speak, CBS reported. Yet Nicholson promised to show jurors fingerprint evidence that allegedly would cast doubt on Ortiz’s connection to the compromised IV bags.

It remains to be seen whether prosecutors will be able to convince jurors that Ortiz had a motive for the alleged attacks. They will aim to demonstrate that he committed the alleged offenses in retaliation for an investigation launched by Baylor Scott & White administrators earlier that year. He had reportedly failed to act when a patient stopped breathing during surgery and risked losing his job, which investigators claim would have been “financially devastating” for him, per CBS.

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