VIDEO: Testimonies Continue in Dallas Doctor’s IV Tampering Trial

Raynaldo Ortiz Jr. (left) Jack Adlerstein (right) | Images by Dallas County Sheriff's Office/Fox 4 KDFW

Wednesday saw another day of testimony in the trial of a Dallas doctor accused of tampering with IV bags, allegedly causing one death and several life-threatening emergencies.

More witnesses and survivors of the mysterious emergencies that struck 11 patients at Baylor Scott & White Surgicare in North Dallas in 2022 took the stand on the third day of Dr. Raynaldo Ortiz Jr.’s federal trial.

As previously covered in The Dallas Express, Ortiz has pleaded not guilty to charges of tampering with consumer products causing death and/or serious bodily injury and adulteration of a drug.

His defense team has suggested that the prosecution’s evidence against Ortiz — surveillance footage of him removing drugs from the facility’s medicine cabinet and taking IV bags in and out of the warmer before the unexpected medical episodes — is circumstantial and his indictment the result of “confirmation bias,” per CBS News Texas.

Ortiz’s defense attorneys sought to prove this as they cross-examined Ashley Berks, a nurse and former administrator at Baylor Scott & White, on April 3. Taking Berks through each of the 11 cardiac emergencies, defense attorneys aimed at casting doubt over the incidents, interjecting the possibility of patients having undiagnosed pre-existing conditions, reactions to the drugs doctors had prescribed, and more, as causes for the episodes rather than someone having spiked the IV bags, per WFAA.

Jurors listened to testimony from two alleged victims and the husband of a third — Ortiz’s colleague and fellow anesthesiologist Dr. Melanie Kaspar — who suffered a fatal heart attack shortly after administering an IV bag to herself for hydration.

One of the two alleged victims who testified was a woman from McKinney, who was 54 at the time of her medical emergency. She was at the surgical facility for a second procedure due to internal bleeding from an abdominoplasty and scar removal from a previous C-section. She suffered a severe cardiac episode and was in the ICU for five days.

“I just remember thinking I cannot die,” she cried. The woman explained how she had woken up while being taken to the ambulance by paramedics, per CBS News Texas.

“[The paramedics were] yelling at me to keep my eyes open,” she added.

The second was the youngest alleged victim, Jack Adlerstein, 18 at the time, who was in surgery for a rhinoplasty when he suffered a severe cardiac episode.

He said he woke up the night after surgery in the ICU at another hospital, afraid to go to sleep, telling jurors that “I thought if I went to sleep, I would die.” He explained that he was unable to move, talk, or breathe when he woke up, per WFAA.

The young man’s surgeon, Dr. Thomas Hung, also testified, noting that the patient had “almost died on the table” due to a serious cardiac episode that left him bleeding excessively, foaming at the mouth, and losing his pulse.

Hung testified that surgeon Dr. Chad Marsden told them to change out the young man’s IV, and shortly after, the patient’s blood pressure began normalizing. Hung noted that Marsden thought “something was contaminating the IV bags,” per CBS News Texas.

The most heart-wrenching testimony came from John Kaspar, the widower of Dr. Melanie Kasper, who told the court how he had helped his wife administer an IV to herself at their home on June 21, 2022, per CBS News Texas, as they had both been ill and suffering from dehydration.

Dr. Kaspar called her husband, screaming. When John arrived at the back of their property where his wife was, he told jurors his wife complained of severe arm and chest pain before collapsing. John began administering CPR while waiting for paramedics to arrive.

“I’ll have regrets forever that I didn’t pull that IV bag out of her arm,” John told the jurors, reported WFAA.

Test results show that Dr. Kasper and the young man both had “toxicity of bupivacaine,” a heart-stopping drug, reported CBS News Texas. None of the cardiac complications occurred during Ortiz’s procedures. During the investigation, a nurse claimed he had refused a bag she retrieved for one of his procedures, saying he would get his own.

The court reconvened on April 4 at 9 a.m., with the trial expected to run for two to three weeks. The Dallas Express, which initially broke the connection between the shuttered surgical center and Ortiz, will continue to report on developments.

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