Dallas doctor poisoned patients' IV bags with bupivacaine, epinephrine and lidocaine, killing one and hurting 11 more

Raynaldo Ortiz, an anesthesiologist at Baylor Scott & White Surgicare in North Dallas, was found guilty of injecting dangerous drugs into patients' IV bags. Eleven patients were poisoned as a result, and one—Dr. Melanie Kaspar, a colleague who used one of the bags at home—died as a result. Ortiz was charged after surveillance video showed him handling the IV bags imminently before patients suffered cardiac emergencies.

Over the course of the case, prosecutors established a potential motive for the tampering. They believed Dr. Ortiz was retaliating for being disciplined in 2018 and again in 2021 and 2022. … The prosecution said that Ortiz's two businesses were losing money and faced even more financial trouble if he was stopped from practicing at the Baylor Scott & White Surgicare in North Dallas. Prosecutors said that Ortiz put the dangerous drugs in IV bags to try to show emergency situations happen to a lot of doctors.

The U.S. Department of Justice outlines Ortiz's mode of operation:

According to evidence presented at trial, between May and August 2022, numerous patients at Surgicare North Dallas suffered cardiac emergencies during routine medical procedures performed by various doctors. About one month after the unexplained emergencies began, an anesthesiologist who had worked at the facility earlier that day died while treating herself for dehydration using an IV bag. In August 2022, doctors at the surgical care center began to suspect tainted IV bags had caused the repeated crises after an 18-year-old patient had to be rushed to the intensive care unit in critical condition during a routine sinus surgery.

A local lab analyzed fluid from the bag used during the teenager's surgery and found bupivacaine (a nerve-blocking agent), epinephrine (a stimulant) and lidocaine (an anesthetic) — a drug cocktail that could have caused the boy's symptoms, which included very high blood pressure, cardiac dysfunction and pulmonary edema. The lab also observed a puncture in the bag.

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. Surveillance video introduced into evidence showed Ortiz repeatedly retrieving IV bags from the warming bin and replacing them shortly thereafter, not long before the bags were carried into operating rooms where patients experienced complications. Video also showed Ortiz mixing vials of medication and watching as victims were wheeled out by emergency responders.

He faces life in prison, Fox 4 News reports.

Previously: Florida nurse accused after cats and dog poisoned