DALLAS - The grandfather of an 18-year-old patient who investigators say was poisoned with tainted IV fluids by Dr. Raynaldo Ortiz is looking for answers and accountability.
Dr. Daniel Wohlgelernter tells FOX 4 when he found out his grandson, Jack, had complications from routine surgery and ended up on life support, he immediately knew a medication of some kind had to be to blame.
"He's an 18-year-old athletic healthy young man," said Dr. Wohlgelernter, a Los Angeles cardiologist. "[He] went in for a simple, low-risk procedure to correct a septum defect in his nose."
Dr. Wohlgelernter said he got a call from Jack's father that the 18-year-old had to be placed on life support after suffering a cardiovascular crisis in the middle of the surgery. Jack's parents were told he had a 50-50 shot at surviving.
"As a cardiologist I immediately suspected something was administered that should not have been," said Dr. Wohlgelernter.
Dr. Raynaldo Ortiz
Ortiz was arrested earlier this month for allegedly injecting saline IV bags with other drugs, leading to the death of a doctor and cardiac emergencies for 11 others, including Jack.
He faces life in prison if convicted.
"The toxic agents injected into the IV fluid initially made his blood pressure go sky-high, impossibly high, the kind of numbers you never see," Dr. Wohlgelernter said.
Investigators collected surveillance video of Dr. Ortiz handling IV bags suspected of being compromised.
"I'm shocked and still outraged the surgery center was allowed to continue caring for patients despite multiple incidents with different patients of an unexplained nature," said Dr. Wohlgelernter.
The same day as Jack's surgery an autopsy was completed for Melanie Kaspar, a doctor at the facility, who died after treating herself for dehydration with an IV bag that she did not know was tainted.
Baylor Scott & White told FOX 4 in a statement, "On August 24, immediately upon determining an IV bag had potentially been compromised, Surgicare North Dallas ceased all operations and notified the appropriate local and federal authorities. To our knowledge, our notification to authorities on Aug. 24 initiated the investigation. We have actively assisted authorities since then and will continue to do so."
FOX 4 asked Baylor Scott & White about what led them to check Jack's IV bag when they had not done so earlier.
A spokesman said they are limiting their comments due to the investigation.
In federal court investigators testified that the powerful drugs Dr. Ortiz allegedly inserted into the IV bags were kept in an unlocked cabinet next to the warmer.
Dr. Wohlgelernter said those drugs should have been secured.
His grandson is now back to his active lifestyle, but Dr. Wohlgelernter says it is unclear how the stress on his cardiovascular system could impact him later in life.
"We can only hope and pray there are no long term consequences, but we don't know because this is unprecedented."