'Instead of Curing Pain,' This Doctor 'Inflicted It'

Raynaldo Rivera Ortiz Jr. found guilty of causing cardiac emergencies through drugged IV bags
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2024 11:50 AM CDT
'Instead of Curing Pain,' This Doctor 'Inflicted It'
This photo provided by the Dallas Police Department shows Dr. Raynaldo Rivera Ortiz Jr.   (Dallas Police Department via AP, File)

A Texas doctor is facing up to 190 years in prison after a federal jury found he injected dangerous drugs into IV bags at the surgical facility where he worked, triggering cardiac emergencies among patients. Thirteen patients suffered cardiac emergencies during routine procedures at Baylor Scott & White Surgicare in North Dallas between May and August of 2022, while an anesthesiologist, Dr. Melanie Kaspar, died after using an IV bag she brought home to treat herself for dehydration. However, anesthesiologist Dr. Raynaldo Rivera Ortiz Jr. was charged only with harming four patients. Prosecutors said surveillance video tied Ortiz to those cases, per KDFW.

Footage played at trial showed Ortiz filling syringes with drug cocktails, putting the syringes in his pocket, then repeatedly handling IV bags placed in a warmer minutes before they were collected by nurses and given to patients who went on to suffer cardiac emergencies. One patient had to be resuscitated with CPR. Prosecutors said Ortiz's actions were retaliation for disciplinary actions taken against him in 2018, 2021, and 2022. The latest disciplinary action was tied to an alleged error made during one of Ortiz's surgeries, per the AP. He allegedly wanted to show that emergency situations can happen to any doctor, per KDFW.

"Dr. Ortiz cloaked himself in the white coat of a healer, but instead of curing pain, he inflicted it," said Leigha Simonton, US attorney for the Northern District of Texas. Ortiz was convicted Friday of all 10 felony counts he faced, including four counts of tampering with consumer products resulting in serious bodily injury and five counts of intentional adulteration of a drug, per the AP. The doctor, who wore a mask in court, showed no emotion as the verdict was delivered, per KDFW. Kaspar's husband said the judgment came as a relief, per CBS News. But "there's no closure," John Kaspar told KDFW. "My best friend is gone." A sentencing date hasn't been set. (More Texas stories.)

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