Texas doctor charged with federal offenses in contaminated IV death of a coworker

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federal officers According to officials, arrested a Texas anesthesiologist is suspected of tampering with IV bags that caused a colleague’s death and a string of harrowing operating room problems.

Dr. Raynaldo Rivera Ortiz Jr. was detained on Wednesday in Plano and charged with intentionally adulterating medications and tampering with a consumer product, crimes that could result in a life sentence in prison, according to federal prosecutors.

According to the order of temporary suspension the Texas Medical Board released on Friday, Ortiz had been placed on administrative leave following a criminal investigation connected to the June 21 death of Dr. Melanie Kasper, 55.

After using an IV bag she had obtained from the clinic where she and Ortiz worked, she passed away. The suspension order stated that Kasper brought the bag home with her while she was unwell in order to rehydrate.

She had received “a deadly quantity of bupivacaine,” according to an autopsy, federal investigators said.

According to a statement from federal officials, an 18-year-old male patient “had a cardiac emergency during a scheduled surgery” and had to be “intubated and moved to a local ICU.”

The teen patient’s saline IV bag, which was utilized during the treatment, contained the anesthetics bupivacaine and lidocaine as well as the stimulant epinephrine.
From May to August, the facility experienced 10 other “unexpected cardiac emergencies,” but none of them occurred while Ortiz was having surgery, according to administrators.

According to authorities, Ortiz “walked rapidly from an operation room to the bag warmer, placed a single IV bag inside, visually scanned the empty hallway, and quickly walked away” in one of the problems.

An hour later, a “56-year-old woman had a cardiac emergency during a scheduled cosmetic surgery when a bag from the warmer was utilized during her procedure,” according to federal authorities.

Despite the fact that the motive for the alleged crimes was not stated by the authorities, the Justice Department said that Dr. Ortiz “had a history of disciplinary actions against him, expressed concern to other physicians over disciplinary action at the facility, and complained the center was trying to ‘crucify’ him.”

Thursday afternoon, it wasn’t immediately clear whether Ortiz had hired a defense attorney or been given counsel to represent him.

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