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Healthcare

Investigators Tie Cardiac Events at Baylor Surgicare to Tainted IV Bags

Dr. Raynaldo Ortiz Jr. was caught on camera placing IV bags outside the operating rooms prior to those patients having heart attacks and other “cardiac complications.”
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Courtesy: iStock

This summer, Dr. Raynaldo Ortiz Jr. was caught on surveillance footage placing IV bags into the warmer outside operating rooms at Baylor Scott & White Surgicare North Dallas. On several occasions, patients inside those rooms would go on to suffer serious cardiac complications.

A recent Texas Medical Board order revealed these frightening details that led to the death of a physician in June and the eventual shutdown of Surgicare, an outpatient surgery center in North Dallas. Ortiz is the subject of a law enforcement investigation connected to these incidents.

Dr. Melanie Kaspar was a healthy 55-year-old physician at the surgery center. She took home an IV bag to administer to herself when she felt dehydrated this June. Soon after she hooked it into her arm, she had a heart attack and died, the order says. The medical examiner initially believed the heart attack was due to natural causes, but in lab work later confirmed that her body contained bupivicaine, a local anesthetic used to numb areas of the body during surgery or medical procedures.

Laboratory tests on other bags in the facility’s warmer revealed tiny visible holes and contained bupivacaine, though they weren’t properly labeled. An investigation tested other IV bags that had been used with patients who experienced cardiac events during routine surgeries; they also contained similar drugs that should not have been present. These medicines could be fatal if administered intravenously.

This is far from the first time Ortiz has been disciplined by the Texas Medical Board. A similar incident happened in November 2020, when a patient received anesthesia from Ortiz and then required CPR and had to be transferred to an acute care hospital. Prior to the current suspension, he was most recently disciplined in August for the November 2020 incident.

Before he was suspended, his practice was forced to be monitored by another physician for four consecutive monitoring cycles, and he was required to take three attempts to pass the board exam, complete dozens of hours of continuing education, and pay a $3,000 fine. The incident resulted in the end of his privileges at the North Garland Surgery Center, but he was allowed to practice elsewhere.

In 2018, Ortiz was ordered by the medical board to pay $2,000 for failing to report his criminal conviction of cruelty to a non-livestock animal. Board documents say that he was arrested for shooting his neighbor’s dog with a pellet gun in retaliation for the neighbor helping a woman escape from him after he abused her in 2014 and for testifying against him at the protective order hearing.

In 2016, Baylor Scott & White – Garland suspended Ortiz’s clinical privileges for 14 days for not notifying the hospital about the criminal charges.

Ortiz was sentenced to 25 days in Collin County jail, given two years community service and a $4,000 fine.The woman who escaped Ortiz was the third woman he had domestically abused.

Board documents show that Ortiz was arrested in 1995 for assault and causing bodily injury to a spouse, and in 2005 another female partner filed an emergency protective order against him.

Last week, a lawyer revealed that he was representing five patients who had adverse reactions after routine surgeries at Baylor Scott & White Surgicare North Dallas, four of which ended up in the ICU for multiple days. Dallas police have confirmed an investigation into Ortiz, but no charges have been filed.

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Will Maddox

Will Maddox

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Will is the senior writer for D CEO magazine and the editor of D CEO Healthcare. He's written about healthcare…

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