Dallas Anesthesiologist Convicted of Fatal Tampering of IV Bags


A doctor at an ambulatory surgery center was convicted last month of injecting dangerous drugs into patient IV bags, acts that lead to the death of a colleague and numerous cardiac emergencies among patients, says the U.S. Justice Department.

Raynaldo Riviera Ortiz Jr., 60, was charged in September 2023 for the crimes that took place between May and August 2022. After an eight-day trial, a jury convicted him of four counts of tampering with consumer products resulting in serious bodily injury, one count of tampering with a consumer product and five counts of intentional adulteration of a drug.

“Dr. Ortiz cloaked himself in the white coat of a healer, but instead of curing pain, he inflicted it,” says Leigha Simonton, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. “He assembled ticking time bombs, then sat in wait as those medical time bombs went off one by one, toxic cocktails flowing into the veins of patients who were often at their most vulnerable, lying unconscious on the operating table. We saw the patients testify. Their pain, their fear and their trauma were palpable in that courtroom.”

Numerous patients at Surgicare North Dallas suffered cardiac emergencies during routine medical procedures performed by various doctors, says the Justice Department. About a month after the unexplained emergencies began, 55-year-old anesthesiologist Melanie Kaspar, who had worked at the facility earlier that day died while treating herself for dehydration using an IV bag at home. Doctors at the surgery center began to suspect tainted IV bags had caused the repeated crises after an 18-year-old patient was rushed to the hospital during a routine sinus surgery in August 2022.

Ortiz surreptitiously injected IV bags of saline with epinephrine, bupivacaine and other drugs, placed them into a warming bin at the facility, and waited for them to be used in colleagues’ surgeries, knowing their patients would experience dangerous complications. Surveillance video showed Ortiz repeatedly retrieving IV bags from the warming bin and replacing them shortly thereafter, not long before the bags were carried into operating rooms where patients experienced complications. Video also showed Ortiz mixing vials of medication and watching as victims were wheeled out by emergency responders.

The Justice Department says Ortiz was facing disciplinary action at the time for an alleged medical mistake made in one of his own surgeries and he potentially faced losing his medical license. He faces a maximum penalty of 190 years in prison. A sentencing date has not been set. OSM


Related Articles

Embrace Caring Leadership

The days of the tyrannical boss who squeezes results out of an ever-fearful staff are over....

May 29, 2024

On Mar. 22, the Mountain State’s Republican governor, Jim Justice, signed HB 4376 into law....

Rethink the Multitasking Trap

For some generations, the importance of multitasking and the ability to successfully apply it was drilled into your subconscious....