May 2, 2024

Texas doctor found guilty of poisoning patients 

A Texas anaesthetist has been convicted on charges of injecting patients’ IV bags with dangerous drugs, which led to the death of a co-worker and several cardiac emergencies.

On April 12, 60-year-old Raynaldo Riviera Ortiz Jr was found guilty 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. He had been arrested in 2022.

At the time of his crimes, Ortiz was also facing disciplinary action for an alleged medical mistake in his one of his own surgeries, which could have cost him his medical registration.

Sentencing will take place later in the year.

“Dr Ortiz cloaked himself in the white coat of a healer, but instead of curing pain, he inflicted it,” said the prosecutor.

“He assembled ticking time bombs, then sat in wait as those medical time bombs went off one by one, toxic cocktails flowing into the veins of patients who were often at their most vulnerable, lying unconscious on the operating table.”

The charges stem from incidents that occurred when Ortiz was working at Baylor Scott and White Surgicare in North Dallas. Between May and August 2022, numerous patients suffered cardiac emergencies during routine medical procedures performed by various doctors.

About one month after the unexplained emergencies began, an anaesthetist who had worked at the facility earlier that day died while treating herself for dehydration using an IV bag.

In August, doctors began to suspect IV bags were tainted after an 18-year-old patient had to be rushed to the intensive care unit in critical condition during a routine sinus surgery.

The prosecutor said that Ortiz surreptitiously injected IV bags of saline with epinephrine, bupivacaine and other drugs, placed them into a warming bin at the facility and waited for them to be used in colleagues’ surgeries, knowing their patients would experience dangerous complications.