Dr. Raynaldo Rivera Ortiz Jr., 59, of Dallas, Texas, United States is an anesthesiologist. He had a history of disciplinary actions against him at the Baylor Scott and White Surgicare Center in Dallas where he worked.
Ortiz was accused of deviating from the standard of care during an anesthesia procedure when a patient experienced a medical emergency. He allegedly injected nerve blocking and bronchodilation drugs into patient intravenous (IV) bags at the surgical center.
On June 21, 2022, Ortiz’s female co-worker, 55, experienced a medical emergency after treating herself for dehydration using an IV bag of saline taken from the surgical center. She died from a lethal dose of bupivacaine, an autopsy report revealed.
Bupivacaine is a nerve blocking agent rarely abused but often used during the administration of anesthesia. Among the trade names of the medication are Marcaine, Posimir and Sensorcaine.
On August 24, 2022, a male patient, 18, experienced a cardiac emergency during a scheduled surgery at the facility. He was intubated and transferred to an intensive care unit (ICU).
Chemical analysis of the fluid from a saline bag used during the teenager’s surgery revealed the presence of bupicavaine, epinephrine and lidocaine. Epinephrine, a hormone and neurotransmitter used to treat allergic reactions, could have caused his symptoms.
Surgical center personnel concluded that the incidents involving the two suggested a pattern of intentional adulteration of IV bags used at the surgical center. They identified about 10 additional unexpected cardiac emergencies that occurred during otherwise unremarkable surgeries on May 26, 2022, on May 27, 2022, on June 27, 2022, on July 7, 2022, on July 15, 2022, on July 18, 2022, on August 1, 2022, on August 4, 2022, on August 9, 2022 and on August 19, 2022.
This is an exceptionally high rate of complications over such a short period of time. Medical personnel were able to stabilize the patient only through use of emergency measures in each of those cases and most of the incidents occurred during longer surgeries that used more than one IV bag.
On September 14, 2022, Ortiz was arrested in Plano, Texas and charged with tampering with a consumer product and with intentionally adulterating drugs. On September 16, 2022, he will make his initial appearance in Dallas before U.S. Magistrate Judge Renee Toliver.