Friday, September 30

Feds arrest Dallas physician accused of tampering with IV luggage

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Dr. Raynaldo Rivera Ortiz Jr. faces federal expenses within the dying of a fellow Baylor Scott & White Surgicare North Dallas physician

DALLAS — Dallas police on Wednesday arrested a 59-year-old Richardson anesthesiologist on a federal warrant on suspicion of allegedly contaminating IV luggage at a North Dallas surgical heart, leading to the death of a fellow Dallas physician and accidents to a number of different sufferers.

Dr. Raynaldo Rivera Ortiz Jr. is accused of allegedly tampering with an IV at Baylor Scott & White Surgicare North Dallas, situated 12230 Coit Road. 

He was arrested in Plano on Wednesday. 

So far, no less than seven — presumably extra — sufferers declare to have skilled extreme, life-threatening medical emergencies whereas present process routine surgical procedures at Surgicare North Dallas between May and August, in response to native attorneys representing sufferers and their households.

On June 21, Dr. Melanie Kaspar, 55, an anesthesiologist who had additionally labored at Baylor Scott & White Surgicare North Dallas, took a saline bag from the power to her Lakewood residence to deal with herself for dehydration. When she gave herself the IV, she “virtually instantly had a critical cardiac occasion and died,” in response to an order temporarily suspending the medical license of Ortiz issued Friday by the Texas Medical Board.

Ortiz is predicted to make his preliminary look, and presumably enter a plea to the fees, in entrance of a federal Justice of the Peace choose Friday. At that listening to, prosecutors may ask the choose to carry Ortiz pending trial. It’s unclear if he has an legal professional.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration brokers are investigating the case.

On Friday, Sept. 9, the Texas Medical Board briefly suspended Ortiz’s medical license calling him “a seamless menace to public welfare.”

In their order of momentary suspension, the medical board stated Ortiz was seen on surveillance footage within the Surgicare North Dallas facility “depositing IV luggage into the hotter within the corridor exterior the working rooms. When he deposited an IV bag into the hotter, shortly thereafter a affected person would endure a critical complication.”

In August, the Dallas County Medical Examiner dominated Kaspar died from an overdose of bupivacaine. Bupivacaine is an anesthetic used to numb areas of the physique and supply ache aid throughout surgical, medical and dental procedures.  

Her dying had initially been dominated unintentional, however the ME has since reopened the case for extra investigation.

“She was beloved by her sufferers, friends, and everybody she labored with,” Melanie Kaspar’s husband John Kaspar stated in an announcement to WFAA. “To watch her die in such a tragic method is one thing I must dwell with ceaselessly. She was a phenomenal lady.”

Don Tittle, John Kaspar’s legal professional, advised WFAA his shopper is “relieved to listen to that progress is being made” on the investigation.

“John is supportive and grateful for the efforts of law-enforcement,” Tittle stated in an announcement Wednesday.

“There actually is little doubt that Melanie Kaspar’s dying was the results of an IV bag that had been tampered with,” he stated. “We have credible data to imagine that over the course of a number of months between 10 and 15 sufferers of the surgical procedure heart skilled a life-threatening medical disaster quickly after receiving an IV bag. They had been believed to be normal saline luggage however virtually definitely had been tampered with to comprise bupivacaine, a drug recognized to be extremely poisonous if launched into the bloodstream.”

“Tragically, Mel was at residence when she unknowingly gave herself a bupivacaine tainted IV bag and, not like the others, there was nobody there to avoid wasting her life,” he stated.

Bupivacaine is similar substance that testing confirmed was current within the IV luggage from the Surgicare North Dallas hotter, the medical board order states. The luggage “displayed seen tiny holes within the plastic wrap across the luggage,” the order states.

Tests had been run on the remaining contents from an IV bag that was given to a different in any other case wholesome affected person who had a critical cardiac occasion throughout a routine surgical procedure, the board order states. 

“The assessments indicated that the IV fluid contained related medicine that ought to not have been within the IV bag,” the order stated. “Such medicine may and could be deadly when administered unknowingly and intravenously.”

The Texas Medical Board stated it solely discovered in regards to the dying of a affected person from attainable IV bag contamination from media stories on Sept. 2. The board stated its workers acquired data from federal authorities on Sept. 8 in regards to the investigation, and set an emergency suspension listening to for Dr. Ortiz for the following day, Sept. 9.

Brandon McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor not related to the case, stated investigations like this are extraordinarily uncommon, and the severity of the sentence — if there is a conviction — can differ enormously.

“The classes of crimes are very totally different,” McCarthy stated. 

“You’ve received some the place individuals are making an attempt to negatively influence the enterprise, they are not making an attempt to harm anyone, that is had been you see the three-year statute kick in,” McCarthy stated. 

“Then you will have these extra egregious ones, the place they’re doing issues — and the motive is all the time the query right here — they’re doing issues for nefarious functions, they usually do not care, prefer it appears like right here, they did not care if somebody died or there’s critical bodily harm, and that is the place you see it leap to the 20 years and life statute.”

A Texas Medical Board spokesperson wouldn’t say when Baylor first knowledgeable the board about considerations over the rash of sufferers having detrimental reactions throughout surgical procedures.

“While we can not disclose any complaints resulting from statutory confidentiality, the board scheduled a short lived suspension listening to as quickly because it had actionable data,” stated board spokesman Jarrett Schneider.

Baylor Scott & White stated the next in statements issued on Wednesday: 

“We actively assisted authorities of their investigation and can proceed to take action. We additionally stay centered on speaking with sufferers.”

“On August 24, instantly upon figuring out an IV bag had doubtlessly been compromised, Surgicare North Dallas paused all operations and notified the suitable native and federal authorities. It elected to shut the identical day, and it stays closed as we concentrate on helping investigators. There is nothing extra vital than the security and well-being of our sufferers. We have created a devoted cellphone line for sufferers with questions: 214-818-2794. Dr. Raynaldo Ortiz was not a member of the medical workers of Surgicare North Dallas on the time the Texas Medical Board suspended his license.”

Attorney Bruce Steckler stated Wednesday he now represents seven shoppers who had procedures at Surgicare North Dallas. They embody:

  • An 18-year-old lady who had her gallbladder eliminated
  • A 39-year-old man who underwent a reverse vasectomy
  • A 21-year-old lady who had breast discount surgical procedure
  • An 18-year-old man who had nostril surgical procedure after a dust bike accident

“All the shoppers that we symbolize appear to have the very same story,” Steckler stated Wednesday. “They all went in for a routine surgical process, a day surgical procedure. All in good well being. No main underlying points in any respect. And they discovered themselves being rushed to a significant hospital as a result of they needed to be intubated and ventilated as a result of they suffered respiratory misery and cardiac arrest.”

A fifth shopper of Steckler’s, a person in his 50s, suffered a cardiac episode throughout surgical procedure, Steckler stated. The surgical procedure was then halted, and whereas the shopper didn’t find yourself within the hospital, it took him all day to get better. He was advised at the moment that he had an underlying coronary heart situation, “however when he went to comply with up, they might not determine” why the episode occurred, Steckler stated.

Steckler stated his two latest shoppers embody a affected person who was having a hernia restore, and one other who got here in for a beauty process.

“My shoppers are cooperating with legislation enforcement companies,” Steckler stated.

Ortiz has no less than twice been disciplined by the Texas Medical Board — as soon as in 2018 and once more as just lately as final month.

On Aug. 19, 2022, the medical board reprimanded Ortiz for not performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on considered one of his anesthesia sufferers who wanted it on the North Garland Surgery Center in November 2020, board paperwork state. The surgical procedure heart’s Medical Executive Committee issued an “adversarial advice,” and Ortiz relinquished his medical workers membership and all scientific privileges. The state medical board ordered his apply be monitored by an outdoor doctor and fined him $3,000, paperwork state.

In 2018, the board disciplined Ortiz for not reporting a conviction of misdemeanor animal cruelty. In 2016, he was convicted in Collin County of utilizing a pellet gun to shoot and injure the canine of a neighbor in retaliation for her serving to his accomplice escape home violence, board paperwork state. In that case, the board fined him $2,000 and gave him a public reprimand. The self-discipline was lifted in 2020 “as a result of completion of all necessities,” medical board paperwork state.


In 1995, in response to medical board paperwork, Ortiz was arrested for misdemeanor assault inflicting bodily harm to a partner. 

In 2005, one other feminine accomplice filed for an emergency protecting order towards Ortiz, board paperwork state.

Reporters Tanya Eiserer, Ariel Plasencia and William Joy, and producer Mark Smith, contributed to this report.

If you will have been affected by the state of affairs at Baylor Scott & White Surgicare North Dallas, please attain out to the WFAA Investigative staff here.

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2022-09-15 17:34:32

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