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Tainted IVs: Surgery Facility Reopens After Anesthesiologist Arrested

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Baylor Scott & White Surgicare in North Dallas | Image by NBC DFW

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A local surgery center has reopened after shutting its doors due to a federal investigation into one of the anesthesiologists on staff who allegedly doped IV bags in order to cause medical emergencies.

Baylor Scott & White Surgicare in North Dallas temporarily closed on August 24 after one of the IV bags in the facility was found to have been tampered with, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

A local anesthesiologist, Dr. Raynaldo Ortiz Jr., whom the Texas Medical Board had previously disciplined, was first reported as connected to the facility by The Dallas Express on September 2.

After the media coverage of Ortiz’s past criminal activity and domestic abuse accusations, the Texas Medical Board was approached by investigators who presented information that caused them to suspend Dr. Ortiz’s medical license on September 9.

The board determined that “his continuation in the practice of medicine poses a continuing threat to public welfare.”

On September 14, law enforcement authorities arrested Ortiz and charged him with illegally tampering with medical supplies, leading to death or bodily injury.

The compromised IV bags have been linked to the death of another anesthesiologist who worked at the facility, Dr. Melanie Kaspar, as reported by The Dallas Express.

At the preliminary detention hearing, federal investigators detailed how at least 12 serious medical emergencies were suspected of being related to Ortiz’s actions. Tested IV bags revealed that they had been injected with various drugs, including bupivacaine, lidocaine, and epinephrine.

Officials explained that when Ortiz was arrested, he had $7,000 cash and more lidocaine, one of the drugs found injected into the IV bags, as reported by The Dallas Express.

The lead prosecutor for the government, John de la Garza, alleged that the doctor was “nothing short of a medical terrorist” responsible for planting “medical bombs” at the facility.

Surveillance footage submitted into evidence showed Ortiz walking down the halls and placing IV bags into a warming device near the operating rooms. Patients would then experience medical emergencies seemingly after those bags were used.

Judge David Horan ordered Ortiz “committed to the custody of the Attorney General and United States Marshal pending further proceedings.”

Baylor Scott & White explained in a statement that “the DOJ noted that investigators believe the problem was limited to one individual who has been arrested and is in custody.” Therefore, they considered it safe to resume operations.

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