Editor’s Note: Update Wednesday, September 14 — Dallas police arrested Raynaldo Rivera Ortiz, Jr., 59, in Plano this afternoon. It was Reserve in the Dallas County Jail around 3:15 a.m., and no bond has been set.
Dallas might have another one Dr. Death on his hands.
After we reported During the investigation of a suspicious death associated with a surgical center in the northeast Dallas area, we have begun to learn disturbing information about anesthesiologist Raynaldo Rivera Ortiz, Jr., whose license has been temporarily revoked last Friday.
Ortiz is suspected of tampering with IV bags and causing at least one death, of Lakewood resident Melanie Kaspar, 55. He’s also suspected of causing harm to at least one other patient, has a history of disciplinary action from the Texas State Medical Board, and has been arrested multiple times, including for domestic violence and shooting a dog. with a pellet gun.
We have contacted Dallas and Richardson area medical professionals who have worked with Ortiz and will continue to update this story with new information as we speak to them and a criminal investigation continues. .
last June, according to the Texas State Medical BoardDr. Melanie Kaspar “brought home a bag of intravenous fluids from the clinic when she was sick, to rehydrate.”
She inserted the IV into her vein and almost immediately had a serious cardiac event and died, according to the medical board’s stay order.
At first everyone believed she had had a heart attack, but later a medical examiner discovered that drug toxicity was what killed her.
The medical board report says surveillance video from the surgical center showed Dr. Ortiz dropping single IV bags into an IV warmer located in the lobby outside the operating rooms. (Intravenous solutions are routinely placed in warmers to deliver fluids to patients who are warm rather than very cold.)
“When he put a bag in the heater, shortly after, a patient suffered a serious complication,” according to the document.
Lab tests showed the warmer’s IV bags contained microscopic holes and the drug bupivacaine, which is used to numb and can be fatal when administered “unknowingly and intravenously”.
According to the Dallas medical examiner’s autopsy report, it was the same drug that caused Kaspar’s death.
Kaspar was a beloved doctor, friend and family member, according to his obituary. “Mel was highly respected in her field and at the various hospitals she worked at across Dallas…she put patients at ease and calmed their fears. She touched the hearts of more people than she ever knew,” it read.
The medical board noted that it heard about this investigation, in part, through media reports, after which it hastily suspended Ortiz’s license, without a hearing, out of concern for public safety. The clinic has ceased operations for the time being.
Dr. Ortiz’s temporary suspension remains in place until the board takes further action, and the board will continue to “take prompt action to protect the people of Texas while simultaneously ensuring due process for licensees of the board,” according to the medical board.
Ortiz, who operates a consulting company called Garland Anesthesia Consultants (based in Richardson) has not been charged with a crime, but is the subject of a criminal investigation, Dallas police confirm.
He’s had trouble in the past.
Most recently, he was fined $3,000 in August for a November 2020 incident in which a patient he was anesthetizing had to be resuscitated and rushed to another hospital.
Around this time, Ortiz also relinquished his privileges as a medical staff at North Garland Surgery Center. This documentation, also from the State Medical Board, refers to his “previous disciplinary action.”
And that opened a Pandora’s box – the previous discipline was due to Dr Ortiz not disclosing to the board a previous criminal conviction and arrest “for cruelty to a non-farmed animal”, which does not is just the tip of the rap sheet.
According to State Medical Board documents, Ortiz was arrested in 1995 on charges of assault causing bodily harm to his estranged wife. Since then, Ortiz has been the subject of an arrest and protective order in connection with violence against two separate women.
Animal cruelty linked to one of the domestic abuse cases, appeal says Ortiz vs. Texas State. In June 2016, a Collin County jury found Ortiz guilty of animal cruelty, and an appeals court came to the same conclusion: Ortiz shot and mutilated his neighbor’s dog. The motive, the jury decided, was retaliation after the neighbor testified against him in a protective order hearing and helped one of his domestic abuse accusers escape his home. The neighbor also testified that she suspected him of shooting a rabbit and dumping the carcass in her yard. He received a suspended sentence and probation in the dog case.
We spoke with a Dr. Devin Trousdale who is a professor at UT Southwestern and had a few brief encounters with Ortiz. He suspects there could be much more to the story, that several other people may have been injured, which the FBI and police are investigating. Dallas police only confirm that they are involved in the investigation.
Dr. Trousdale, also an anesthesiologist, worked with Ortiz at the now defunct Richardson Medical Center. He says one of his partners warned him about Ortiz, who they say acted unprofessionally and borderline dangerously during a procedure. Rather, it was a case of Ortiz trying to rush out on a day when the hospital was running late, but it affected his fellow doctors enough to talk it over among themselves, Trousdale tells us. “In anesthesia, we help each other, but [in this case] it wasn’t so much for patient safety that he really wanted to speed things up for himself.
Dr. Trousdale adds that, while certainly not as newsworthy (but, I think it is), Dr. Ortiz was known to overtake his Corvette in the doctor’s parking lot, where the spaces were limited, which did little to help his reputation among his peers.
When the dog was shot in 2015, the neighbor says she heard the sound of the Corvette parking in the driveway before she heard her dog scream in pain. “It’s a very loud and distinctive roar when [appellant] come home,” she testified. And court documents say Ortiz had at least three Corvettes.
A Lakewood resident informed us that Dr. Ortiz was a season ticket holder for the Dallas Mavericks who is seen on the field in several photographs of the Mavs.
I do not own the rights to these images, but some messages on the Mavs page show him.
If you have worked with Dr. Ortiz, or if you or a loved one were in his care at any time, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. It is an evolving story.