The Texas Medical Board took emergency action Friday to suspend the license of a Dallas anesthesiologist suspected of tampering with IV bags.
The Board’s order said Raynaldo Rivera Ortiz, Jr. is under federal investigation in connection with the death of a fellow doctor and with complications patients suffered, even during routine surgery. The events under investigation happened at Baylor Scott & White Surgicare Center in North Dallas, which halted all surgeries this week.
The suspension comes after the Texas Medical Board called an emergency meeting Friday after hearing from federal law enforcement. It said it moved quickly because of what it considers imminent peril to the public’s health.
The Board determined evidence exists linking Ortiz to compromised IV bags found at the surgical center.
According to the Board’s order, Ortiz was seen on surveillance footage in the surgical center depositing single IV bags into the warmer in the hall outside operating rooms, and that “shortly thereafter a patient would suffer a serious complication.”
The Board said lab tests on IV bags taken from the same warmer found “visible tiny holes in the plastic wrap around the bags.” It said those bags contained bupivacaine, but were not labeled as such.
Tests done on an IV bag given to an otherwise healthy patient who suffered a serious heart complication during routine surgery found the remaining fluid inside contained similar drugs that should have not been present, according to the Texas Medical Board.
When given unknowingly, the Board wrote, “such drugs could and would be fatal.”
Federal investigators also appear to be looking at Ortiz in connection with the death of Dr. Melanie Kaspar on June 21.
According to the Board, on that day, “a fellow physician at Surgicare … took an IV bag home with her when she was ill to rehydrate. She inserted the IV into her vein and almost immediately had a serious cardiac event and died.”
Reporters reached out to Ortiz for comment Friday night. He was apparently unaware his license had been suspended and told us “I’m just devastated,” and that he didn’t do it.
The Texas Medical Board said it will schedule another hearing on this case as soon as it’s practical to do so, and it will provide Ortiz 10 days notice. Until then, his license will remain suspended.
Reporters reached out to Baylor Scott & White. They said: “The safety of those we serve remains our priority. We will continue to limit our comments as we support authorities in their investigation.”