Texas Doctor Faces Federal Charges, Accused of Putting Drugs in IV Bags

Dallas police have arrested Raynaldo Rivera Ortiz Jr.
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2022 4:44 PM CDT
Updated Sep 15, 2022 5:30 PM CDT
Texas Doctor Who Warmed IV Bags Suspended After Cardiac Episodes
The Dallas Police Department provided this photo of Dr. Raynaldo Rivera Ortiz Jr.   (Dallas Police Department via AP)

Update: Dallas police arrested an anesthesiologist Wednesday on federal charges after an investigation into the death of a fellow physician and cardiac emergencies suffered by several other people. Raynaldo Rivera Ortiz Jr. is suspected of injecting nerve blocking agents and other drugs into patient IV bags at the surgery center where he worked, according to a release by federal prosecutors. The charges are tampering with a consumer product causing death and intentional drug adulteration, CNN reports. He's due in court Friday. Our original story from Monday follows:

Saying Dr. Raynaldo Rivera Ortiz Jr. poses a threat to public health, the Texas Medical Board has suspended the anesthesiologist pending an investigation into cardiac complications suffered by several patients. One of them, a physician, died, USA Today reports. Surveillance video shows Ortiz putting single IV bags in a warmer outside operating rooms at Baylor Scott & White Surgicare North Dallas. One patient had a serious complication shortly afterward, and a fellow physician died after she took one of the IV bags home to rehydrate in June. Board records show she had a serious cardiac event almost immediately after putting the IV into a vein.

Bags from the lab were improperly labeled, had holes in the surrounding plastic wrap, and tested positive for bupivacaine. The medical examiner ruled that accidental bupivacaine toxicity caused the doctor's death. Tests after another patient had a serious cardiac event during routine surgery found similar drugs that shouldn't have been in the patient's IV bag. The board imposed the suspension once it learned that federal law enforcement has begun a criminal investigation of the case. It will be in effect until the board decides its next move.

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Ortiz received his license in February 1991 and lists anesthesiology as his specialty, but he is not board-certified, per USA Today. His employer said it's cooperating with the investigation. Reached by KTVT, Ortiz said he'd done nothing wrong. "I'm just devastated," he said. Dallas police also are investigating. (Read more anesthesiologist stories.)

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