Doctor convicted of injecting dangerous drugs in IV bags, causing 1 death, heart emergencies

Alex Thompson By Alex Thompson Jun17,2024

DALLAS (TCD) — A jury found a 60-year-old Dallas anesthesiologist guilty of tampering with patients’ IV bags at a local surgical center, causing one death and multiple heart emergencies in 2022.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced April 12 that Dr. Raynaldo Riviera Ortiz Jr. 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. Ortiz will be sentenced at a later date and faces a maximum sentence of 190 years in prison. He was initially charged in September 2022.

According to prosecutors, in June 2022, Ortiz’s 55-year-old female co-worker, another anesthesiologist, treated herself with an IV bag for dehydration and died immediately after.

In August 2022, an 18-year-old patient underwent a simple sinus surgery and needed to be rushed into the intensive care unit in critical condition following the procedure, where they were intubated. Doctors “began to suspect tainted IV bags had caused the repeated crises.”

According to the Department of Justice, a lab determined a drug mix of bupivacaine, epinephrine, and lidocaine was administered to the teen, who experienced critically high blood pressure, cardiac issues, and pulmonary edema. Prosecutors said the epinephrine is “a stimulant that could have caused the patient’s symptoms.” The lab also noticed a hole in the IV bag.

Between May and August 2022, 10 other heart emergencies reportedly occurred, most of which happened when patients needed more than one IV bag. The bags were retrieved mid-surgery from a “stainless steel bag warmer,” according to the Department of Justice.

Further investigation revealed Ortiz secretly injected saline IV bags with epinephrine, bupivacaine, and other drugs, and then he would put them into a warming bin. Prosecutors said Ortiz knew the drug cocktails would cause dangerous symptoms, and he would wait to use them in co-workers’ procedures.

Surveillance video reportedly shows Ortiz grabbing IV bags from the warming bin and replacing them shortly after he took them to surgery rooms. Investigators also obtained footage showing Ortiz “mixing vials of medication and watching as emergency responders wheeled out victims.”

According to the statement, Ortiz had allegedly made a medical error that threatened his medical license and was facing disciplinary action at the time.

Doctors testified at trial regarding the “confusion they felt when their patients’ blood pressures suddenly skyrocketed.” They all determined the emergencies occurred “shortly after new IV bags had been hung.”

Numerous patients reportedly awoke to be “unexpectedly intubated in intensive care units they had been transported to via emergency medical transportation services, in pain and in fear for their lives.”

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton said, “Dr. Ortiz cloaked himself in the white coat of a healer, but instead of curing pain, he inflicted it.”

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Alex Thompson

By Alex Thompson

Alex is an award-winning journalist with a passion for investigative reporting. With over 15 years of experience in the field, Alex has covered a wide range of topics from politics to entertainment. Known for in-depth research and compelling storytelling, Alex's work has been featured in major news outlets around the world.

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2 thoughts on “Doctor convicted of injecting dangerous drugs in IV bags, causing 1 death, heart emergencies”
  1. It’s horrifying to think that a doctor could betray the trust of their patients in such a malicious way. The consequences of their actions have been devastating, leading to tragic outcomes for innocent individuals. Justice must be served swiftly and harshly in cases like this.

  2. It’s truly disturbing to think that a healthcare professional, someone trusted with patients’ lives, would engage in such reckless and dangerous behavior. The consequences of his actions have been devastating, causing irreparable harm to individuals. Justice must be served to ensure the safety and well-being of all patients under medical care.

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