EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – A Texas anesthesiologist was arrested on criminal charges in regards to allegedly injecting nerve blocking and bronchodilation drugs into patient’s IV bags at a local surgical center.
Raynaldo Rivera Ortiz Jr., a Texas anesthesiologist, was arrested in Plano, Texas, in regards to charges of allegedly tampering with patient’s IV bags. According to court documents, around June 21, a 55-year-old female coworker of Ortiz experienced a medical emergency and died immediately after treating herself for dehydration using an IV bag of saline taken from the surgical center. An autopsy report revealed that she died from a lethal dose of bupivacaine, a nerve blocking agent that is rarely abused but is often used during the administration of anesthesia.
Two months later, around Aug. 24, an 18-year-old male patient, experienced a cardiac emergency during a scheduled surgery. The teen was intubated and transferred to a local ICU. Chemical analysis from a saline bag used during his surgery revealed the presence of epinephrine (a stimulant that could have caused the patient’s symptoms), bupicavaine, and lidocaine.
The criminal complaint alleges that in one instance captured in a surveillance video, Dr. Ortiz was observed walking quickly from an operating room to the bag warmer, placing a single IV bag inside, visually scanning the empty hallway, and quickly walking away. Just over an hour later, according to the complaint, a 56-year-old woman suffered a cardiac emergency during a scheduled cosmetic surgery after a bag from the warmer was used during her procedure. The complaint alleges that in another instance, agents observed Dr. Ortiz exit his operating room carrying an IV bag concealed in what appeared to be a paper folder, swapped the bag with another bag from the warmer, and walked away. Roughly half an hour later, a 54-year-old woman suffered a cardiac emergency during a scheduled cosmetic surgery after a bag from the warmer was used during her procedure.