'Medical Terrorist' Doctor Who Killed Fellow MD by Tampering with IV Bag Is Convicted

Raynaldo Riviera Ortiz Jr., 60, will face up to 190 years in prison at sentencing

<p>US Attorney

US Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas; FOX 4 Dallas Fort-Worth/YouTube

Jack Alderstein (left); Dr. Raynaldo Ortiz

A Texas anesthesiologist prosecutors dubbed a “medical terrorist” has been found guilty of injecting patients' IV bags with dangerous drugs, which led to the death of a co-worker and numerous cardiac emergencies, the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Northern District of Texas said.

On April 12, after an eight-day trial and seven hours of deliberation, a jury convicted Raynaldo Riviera Ortiz Jr., 60, 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, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Texas said in a release.

<p>Dallas County Sheriff's Office</p> Dr. Raynaldo Ortiz

Dallas County Sheriff's Office

Dr. Raynaldo Ortiz

He faces up to 190 years in prison. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled for him.

“Dr. Ortiz cloaked himself in the white coat of a healer, but instead of curing pain, he inflicted it,” U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, Leigha Simonton, said in a video statement shared on X (formerly known as Twitter).

<p>US Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas</p> Dr. Raynaldo Ortiz in hospital surveillance footage

US Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas

Dr. Raynaldo Ortiz in hospital surveillance footage

“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,” Simonton said. “We saw the patients testify. Their pain, their fear and their trauma was palpable in that courtroom.”

Ortiz was arrested on Sept. 14, 2022, and charged with tampering with a consumer product causing death and intentional drug adulteration.

The charges stem from alleged incidents in 2022 when Ortiz was working at Baylor Scott and White Surgicare in North Dallas.

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, the U.S. Attorney said in the release.

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.

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On June 21, Dr. Melanie Kaspar took one of the tainted IV bags home to rehydrate during an illness and suffered a fatal heart attack, per Dallas News.

Grove Hill Funeral Home and Memorial Park Dr. Melanie Sessions Kaspar
Grove Hill Funeral Home and Memorial Park Dr. Melanie Sessions Kaspar

In August 2022, doctors at the surgical care center began to suspect tainted IV bags had caused the repeated crises after 18-year-old patient Jack Alderstein had to be rushed to the intensive care unit in critical condition during a routine sinus surgery, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in their release.

“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 release explained. “The lab also observed a puncture in the bag.”

A quick-thinking doctor who changed the bag that sent Alderstein’s heart rate racing, and left him with fluid in his lungs and without a pulse at one point, saved him, per Fox 4.

According to the outlet, Alderstein said, "There's not really words to thank someone who saved your life."

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, the U.S. Attorney's release said.

Surveillance footage shared on X (formerly Twitter) introduced into evidence showed Ortiz repeatedly retrieving IV bags from the warming bin and replacing them shortly thereafter. It was not long before the bags were carried into operating rooms where patients experienced complications, according to the release.

Per the release, “Video also showed Ortiz mixing vials of medication and watching as victims were wheeled out by emergency responders."

Evidence presented at trial showed that Ortiz was facing disciplinary action at the time for an alleged medical mistake made during one of his surgical procedures and that he potentially faced losing his medical license, the U.S. Attorney stated.

It was also noted that "At trial, doctors testified about the confusion they felt when their patients’ blood pressures suddenly skyrocketed."

“Reviewing medical records, they all noted the emergencies occurred shortly after new IV bags had been hung,” the release continued, adding, "Patients recalled waking up unexpectedly intubated in intensive care units they had been transported to via emergency medical transportation services, in pain and in fear for their lives.”

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