A U.S. magistrate judge ordered Dr. Raynaldo Ortiz Jr. to remain in federal custody pending his trial after hearing allegations of him illegally tampering with IV bags, causing roughly a dozen people to suffer serious medical emergencies.
Judge David Horan found that Dr. Ortiz represented a continuing threat to the public were he to be released.
The preliminary detention hearing ended with the prosecution’s lead attorney, John de la Garza, alleging that Ortiz was “nothing short of a medical terrorist” who planted “medical bombs” at the Baylor Scott & White facility he worked at in North Dallas.
The Dallas Express broke the connection between Dr. Ortiz and the Baylor Scott & White facility on September 2. The coverage was then seemingly mentioned by the Texas Medical Board when it suspended Ortiz’s license on September 9.
The government argued that Ortiz was both a threat to the public and a flight risk, asking the judge to keep him in custody.
The case against Ortiz was centered upon the testimony of FDA Special Agent Daniel Allgeyer, who mostly related the information contained in the criminal complaint.
However, Allgeyer also asserted that two Baylor Scott & White employees refused to speak to federal investigators for fear of what Ortiz would do to them if he found out. Additionally, Allgeyer said that a third colleague alleged that Ortiz had drugged her drink while on a date, causing her to be taken to an emergency room.
The Dallas Express viewed surveillance footage from August 4 entered into evidence by the prosecution which showed Ortiz quickly walking down the hall to the IV bag warmer, looking around over his shoulder, and then hurriedly placing an IV bag into the device.
In footage from August 19, Ortiz is shown apparently walking past several employees in the hallway with an IV bag concealed inside a folder. He briefly stops in front of the warmer to deposit the bag before walking away.
In both cases, after Ortiz placed the bags into the device, patients in nearby operating rooms suffered medical emergencies.
IV bags connected by federal investigators to other medical emergencies at the clinic showed that the drugs bupivacaine, epinephrine, and lidocaine were injected into them. When administered, these concoctions caused patients to have a medical emergency, requiring them to receive life-saving care.
When Ortiz was arrested, he was found with $7,000 cash and lidocaine, one of the drugs injected into the IV bags.
Ortiz was represented by a federal public defender assigned to him by the court. She argued that Ortiz should be released pending trial, stressing that his having family in the area meant he was not a flight risk.
Harper also called an attorney, Kristi Motley, to testify on Ortiz’s behalf. Motley had previously represented the accused anaesthesiologist in a separate legal matter related to a property and child custody dispute Ortiz had with his girlfriend in 2015.
After representing Ortiz, Motely became a family friend of his and even attended Ortiz’s daughters’ weddings. She claimed that Ortiz had never indicated any violent behavior in all her time knowing him and stressed that despite allegations of domestic violence, it had never been proven that he committed such actions.