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Watch: Surveillance Footage of Richardson Anesthesiologist Accused of Poisoning IV Bags

Dr. Raynaldo Ortiz will be detained without bond until his trial.
Courtesy: U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Texas

Dr. Raynaldo Ortiz was arrested last week after allegedly putting nerve-blocking agents into IV bags at Baylor Scott & White Surgicare North Dallas, resulting in at least 12 cardiac complications and one death. Surveillance footage was entered into evidence at a hearing in a federal court in Dallas this week, which shows Ortiz allegedly placing an IV bag into a warmer in the hallway outside an operating room.

Ortiz was arrested last week for the alleged tampering and will be detained until the trial.

Ortiz has a lengthy disciplinary record that included multiple domestic violence arrests, time spent in jail for shooting a neighbor’s dog, and other adverse patient outcomes. The Texas Medical Board disciplined and fined him, and at least one other facility had denied him privileges for not disclosing his criminal activity before Surgicare hired him.

The Baylor Scott and White facility is an outpatient surgery center that handles mostly routine elective procedures. This summer, several patients experienced unexpected cardiac events that required being transferred to an acute care facility, with several spending time in the intensive care unit and nearly dying. In June, a fellow anesthesiologist from Surgicare died after administering herself an IV bag she took home from work because she felt dehydrated. Her cause of death was first blamed on a heart attack, but the Dallas Medical Examiner found nerve-blocking agents in her blood after news broke about the other adverse reactions.

IV bags from the center were found with holes in them and contained nerve-blockers and other drugs that shouldn’t have been present. These substances matched those found in the blood of patients who had to be transferred to a full-service hospital from Surgicare during their surgery.

Local counsel Bruce Steckler represents seven Surgicare patients who are recovering well after their cardiac events. Most of them were young adults receiving routine surgeries. He says his clients are cooperating with the criminal investigation and pursuing individual civil lawsuits against the facility.

“There are many things that we are looking at,” Steckler says. “No. 1 is obviously to ensure that the hospital makes sure that whoever is on staff is fully vetted. Number two is ensuring that medical supplies and medications are maintained and stored safely.”

In newly released surveillance footage, Ortiz can be seen walking around a corner at Surgicare and looking up and down the hallway, which is empty. He walks past the warmer to look around a corner and quickly places what looks like an IV bag inside the warmer. He looks around again before walking away.

In a second video provided by the Northern District of Texas U.S. Attorney’s Office, Ortiz walks down the same hallway, which now has several healthcare workers in it. He has what looks like an IV bag concealed in what appears to be a paper folder. He then opens the warmer, rummages around, pulls what looks like an IV bag from the warmer, and returns to the operating room. He walks past a co-worker with the now unconcealed IV bag in his hand.

None of the negative reactions happened during Ortiz’s surgeries, but they all occurred while he was working in the surgery center. They also happened during longer surgeries, when those performing the operation would have needed multiple IV bags and retrieved them from the warmers in the hallways. In one procedure, Ortiz allegedly refused to use an IV bag taken from the hallway warmer for one of his surgeries.

Ortiz had been disciplined in August by the Texas Medical Board for a past adverse patient outcome and allegedly told co-workers the center was trying to “crucify” him. One of Steckler’s patients nearly died last month from a tainted IV bag soon after Ortiz allegedly made this comment to others at the center.

“This is stunning to all of my clients, Steckler says. “What is even scarier than the initial discovery that you’ve just had a major event during surgery is the prospect that this might be the result of someone spiking these bags.”


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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