The coworkers of anesthesiologist Raynaldo Rivera Ortiz Jr., MD, who allegedly injected heart-stopping drugs into IV bags at Baylor Scott & White Surgicare North Dallas, testified they were "terrified" of him to federal investigators, D Magazine reported Nov. 23.
Dr. Ortiz allegedly injected IV bags with bupivacaine, epinephrine and lidocaine, which caused almost a dozen patients to experience unexpected cardiac emergencies.
The FDA Office of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Dan Allgeyer testified that agents interviewed dozens of former coworkers who "described their fear of retaliation and aggression," the report said.
Jeremy Johnson, surgery director at the Baylor Scott & White facility, said that Dr. Ortiz was "very aggressive" and he once had to call hospital security on Dr. Ortiz. Mr. Johnson also said he was fearful Dr. Ortiz would retaliate against him, his family and his colleagues.
The investigation began after the June 21 death of fellow anesthesiologist Melanie Kaspar, MD, who worked at the ASC. She was originally thought to have had a heart attack, but the Dallas County Medical Examiner ruled her death to be from the effects of bupivacaine. According to the board, she took an IV bag home with her when she was ill to rehydrate, inserted the IV into her vein and had a serious cardiac event and died.