The Texas Medical Board temporarily suspended the medical licence of a Dallas-based anesthesiologist after obtaining evidence from federal law enforcement that the physician was under criminal investigation in connection with the death of a colleague physician.

Raynaldo Rivera Ortiz, Jr., MD, had his licence suspended after a disciplinary board decided that he would constitute a “continued threat to public welfare” if allowed to practise medicine, according to a statement published by the board on Friday. The ban would be effective immediately, beginning September 8, according to the announcement.

Ortiz also has a disciplinary history with the board, which includes incidences of domestic and animal cruelty.

Ortiz was observed in surveillance film outside the operating rooms of the Baylor Scott & White Health Surgicare North Dallas hospital putting single IV bags into a warmer, according to the board’s disciplinary records. An examination and laboratory testing confirmed that the IV bags contained the anaesthetic bupivacaine with no extra labelling to indicate the change. The letter also said that minor holes were discovered in the plastic wrap that encircled the bag.

The board claimed that a patient had a significant consequence immediately after Ortiz was shown inserting the changed IV bag to the warmer in the CCTV tape.

The board also mentioned Ortiz’s colleague’s death on June 21. The records revealed that the physician, another anesthesiologist at the clinic, had taken an IV bag laced with bupivacaine home to rehydrate herself when she became unwell. The doctor, named as Melanie Kaspar, MD, by Dallas television station NBC5, placed the IV bag herself at home before having a major cardiac attack and dying.

According to the records, the postmortem report of the Dallas medical examiner found that the physician died as a result of accidental bupivacaine intoxication.

Baylor Scott & White Health announced in a statement to MedPage Today that its Surgicare facility “contacted law enforcement after learning that an IV bag seemed to have been compromised.”

The institution “chosen to suspend its activities” when the changed IV bags were discovered, according to the statement.

“The institution will stay closed as we help investigators and communicate with patients,” the statement said. “We will continue to keep our remarks to a minimum while we assist authorities with their inquiry.”

The board observed that “identical medications” were discovered during laboratory testing on a used IV bag administered to another patient who had a major cardiac episode during a routine operation at the same clinic.

According to CBS11 in Dallas, Ortiz professed his innocence and was “devastated” to learn that his licence had been suspended by the board.

Ortiz has a disciplinary history with the medical board, as well as interactions with the criminal justice system linked to many episodes of domestic and animal violence.

Most recently, Ortiz was placed on administrative probation and fined $3,000 for failing to “reach the standard of care” for a patient during surgery in 2020.

Prior to that, in April 2015, a jury convicted Ortiz guilty of shooting his neighbor’s dog with a pellet pistol, according to court papers from the Fifth District of Texas in Dallas. The shooting was apparently related to the dog owner’s relationship with Ortiz’s female girlfriend, whom the neighbour assisted in evicting following an incident in 2014.

Following a failed appeal, the state sentenced Ortiz to two years of community service, a $4,000 fine, and a lifetime ban on owning firearms, among other penalties. In reaction to this occurrence, the state medical board fined Ortiz $2,000 and sentenced him to serve a one-year probationary period beginning in 2018.

According to the board’s records, Ortiz was arrested in 1995 on misdemeanour counts of abusing and hurting his wife. According to the documents, a separate lady filed for an emergency protection order against him in 2005.

According to the board’s records, Ortiz was arrested again in 2014 for misdemeanour assault on a third lady. According to the board’s paperwork, he was suspended for two weeks by Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Garland for failing to notify the business of the misdemeanour charges.

According to the board’s statement, a hearing to review the interim suspension will be conducted at an indeterminate future date, after which the suspension will stay in effect.

Ortiz was issued a Texas medical licence in 1991 and operated Garland Anesthesia Consultants in Richardson, Texas, near Dallas, according to the board’s disciplinary filings.