Trial underway for anesthesiologist accused of poisoning IV bags at ASC

The trial for Raynaldo Ortiz Jr., MD, an anesthesiologist who allegedly injected heart-stopping drugs into IV bags at Baylor Scott & White Surgicare North Dallas, began April 1, local Fox affiliate KDFW reported April 2. 

Here are five things to know:

1. Dr. Ortiz has been in federal custody since his arrest for allegedly injecting IV bags with bupivacaine, epinephrine and lidocaine. 

2. Witness testimony in the trial began April 2. The state aims to convince the jury the alleged poisoning began after Baylor Scott and White started investigating Dr. Ortiz because one of his patients stopped breathing, according to the report. 

3. The investigation began after the June 2022 death of fellow anesthesiologist Melanie Kaspar, MD. 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. She allegedly took an IV bag home with her when she was ill to rehydrate, inserted the IV into her vein, had a serious cardiac event and died.

4. There also is surveillance footage in which Dr. Ortiz appears to place IV bags in warmers outside operating rooms before patients experienced unexpected cardiac emergencies. 

5. He faces life in prison if convicted of federal charges. He has pleaded not guilty.

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