Texas physician accused of tampering with IV bags held without bail: 5 updates

A federal judge on Sept. 19 denied a request from Raynaldo Rivera Ortiz Jr., MD, to be released from jail while he awaits trial on charges related to allegedly tampering with IV bags that led to a death and multiple patient complications, CBS News reports. 

Dr. Ortiz, a longtime anesthesiologist at Baylor Scott & White Surgicare North Dallas, was arrested Sept. 14. The arrest came about a week after the Texas Medical Board suspended the 59-year-old's license. The suspension report said surveillance footage at the surgery center shows the physician placing IV bags into a warmer outside of operating rooms. An investigation into whether Dr. Ortiz tampered with those bags is ongoing. 

Four more notes: 

1. Dr. Ortiz faces federal charges of tampering with a consumer product and of intentionally adulterating drugs, according to the Justice Department. He faces a maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted.  

2. The anesthesiologist allegedly injected IV bags with nerve blocking and bronchodilation drugs, such as bupivacaine, epinephrine and lidocaine. Court documents allege surveillance video from the ambulatory surgery center's OR hallway shows Dr. Ortiz placing IV bags into a warmer shortly before other physicians' patients experienced cardiac emergencies, the Justice Department said. 

3. The contaminated bags are connected to a colleague's death and at least 10 "unexpected cardiac emergencies" that occured during patients' "otherwise unremarkable surgeries" between May and August. 

4. Patients' cardiac complications began two days after Dr. Ortiz was notified of a disciplinary inquiry surrounding an incident in which he allegedly "deviated from the standard of care" during an anesthesia procedure when a patient had a medical emergency. The complaint alleges that Dr. Ortiz had a history of disciplinary actions against him by the surgery center.  

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