Dallas (CBSDFW.COM) – The Texas Medical Board took emergency action Friday to suspend the license of a Dallas anesthesiologist suspected of tampering with an IV bag.
Reinaldo Rivera Ortiz Jr. is under federal investigation in connection with the death of a fellow doctor and complications suffered by patients even during routine surgery, according to a commission order. The inside incident occurred at the Baylor Scott & White Surgery Care Center in north Dallas, which has halted all surgeries this week.
The suspension came after the Texas Medical Commission called an emergency meeting on Friday following hearings from federal law enforcement. It said it moved quickly given the imminent danger to public health.
The panel determined that there was evidence linking Ortiz to an infected IV bag found at the surgical center.
According to the commission’s order, Ortiz was seen on surveillance footage from the surgical center placing a single IV bag in a warmer in the hall outside the operating room and said, “Shortly thereafter, the patient would suffer serious complications. would,’ he said.
The board said a lab test on an IV bag taken from the same warmer found “small visible holes in the plastic wrap around the bag.” Those bags said they contained bupivacaine, but they weren’t labeled as such.
According to the Texas Medical Board, tests done on IV bags given to otherwise healthy patients who suffered serious heart complications during routine surgery found none were present in the fluid remaining inside. It was found to contain the same drug that should have been.
The committee wrote that “such drugs could be fatal, and could be fatal” if administered unwittingly.
Federal investigators also appear to be investigating Ortiz in connection with the June 21 death of Dr. Melanie Kaspar.
According to the commission, that day, “a fellow doctor at Surgicare brought home an IV bag for hydration when she was sick. She inserted an IV into a vein and almost immediately suffered a serious heart attack.” Caused an event and died.”
CBS 11 reached out to Ortiz for comment Friday night. He apparently didn’t know his license had been suspended and didn’t do it, saying, “I’m just devastated.”
The Texas Medical Commission said it plans to schedule another hearing on the matter as soon as practicable and will give Ortiz 10 days’ notice. Until then, his license remains suspended.
CBS 11 reached out to Baylor Scott & White. “The safety of the people we serve remains our priority. We will continue to limit comment to support the authorities’ investigation.”