Dallas Doc Poisoned Patients' IV Bags with Toxic Drugs Because He was Disgruntled with Disciplinary Action He was Facing Over Mistake in Surgery

Raynaldo Riviera Ortiz Jr.
Raynaldo Riviera Ortiz Jr. (left) and in surveillance footage used to implicate him. Twitter/YouTube

A Dallas anesthesiologist, who prosecutors said was disgruntled over disciplinary action he was facing, including the possible loss of his medical license, was convicted of injecting drugs into patients' IV bags, resulting in at least one death and causing multiple patient cardiac emergencies.

Raynaldo Riviera Ortiz Jr., 60, was convicted 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, prosecutors said in a news release on Friday. He faces up to 190 years in prison.

Suspicions Raised After Patients Suffered Cardiac Emergencies, An Anaesthesiologist Died After Treating Herself for Hydration with One of the IV Bags

The alleged incidents took place in 2022 at Baylor Scott & White Surgicare North Dallas, where numerous patients suffered cardiac emergencies during routine medical procedures, authorities said.

About a month after the unexplained emergencies started, an anesthesiologist at the facility earlier that day died while treating herself for dehydration using an IV bag.

Suspicions were raised about tainted IV bags in August of that year after an 18-year-old sinus surgery patient began having high blood pressure, cardiac dysfunction and pulmonary edema symptoms and had to be rushed to the intensive care unit in critical condition, prosecutors said.

IV Fluid Tested Positive for Toxic Cocktail of Drugs, Dr. Ortiz Caught on Camera Replacing IV Bags, Mixing Vials

A test of the fluid from the teen's IV bag found the suspected cause — a drug cocktail of bupivacaine — a nerve-blocking agent, epinephrine — a stimulant, and lidocaine — an anesthetic.

Authorities also found a puncture in the bag and learned Ortiz surreptitiously injected the bags with the drugs, put them into a warming bin, and waited for them to be used in his colleagues' surgeries.

Prosecutors said surveillance video showed him repeatedly retrieving IV bags from the warming bin and replacing them just before they were carried into operating rooms where patients experienced complications. Video also showed him mixing vials of medication and watching as emergency responders wheeled victims out, officials said.

Dr. Ortiz was Disgruntled Over Action He was Facing for Making a Mistake During a Surgery

Prosecutors alleged Ortiz was disgruntled over disciplinary problems he had been facing, including possibly losing his medical license for an alleged medical mistake in one of his surgeries.

Citing records from the Texas Medical Board, Law&Crime reported Ortiz had also been arrested on allegations that he abused women and shot a pet dog. He also owed millions of dollars to the IRS, KXAS reported.