DALLAS - Dallas anesthesiologist Dr. Raynaldo Ortiz Jr. was under investigation well before his arrest in connection with 11 patient emergencies and a doctor's death at the Baylor Scott & White North Dallas Surgicare Center.
Ortiz was accused of negligence in 2020 at a Garland surgery center where he also worked.
According to court records, in April 2021 Ortiz "did not recognize the patient's inadequate oxygenation and ventilation" during a procedure, and the patient had to be resuscitated with CPR.
Instead of Dr. Ortiz "having his privileges revoked", the anesthesiologist "relinquished all clinical privileges" at the Garland facility.
He was still able to practice at the North Dallas Surgicare Center where the criminal complaint against him says a similar issue happened in May 2022, involving a patient who "stopped breathing" under Dr. Ortiz's care.
Between May and August of this year, prosecutors say Ortiz tampered with saline IV bags causing multiple patient emergencies.
FOX 4 asked Baylor Scott & White, the majority owner of both the Garland and Dallas surgery centers, why Dr. Ortiz was allowed to keep practicing at one facility after relinquishing his privileges at the other.
The company responded saying, "We have actively assisted authorities and will continue to do so; as such, we will also continue to limit our comments."
Robert Oshel, a retired associate director from the National Practitioner Database run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, says this case is an example of why there is too much secrecy surrounding doctor's records.
"Right now you can find out more information about if your toaster has been recalled and is unsafe than you can find out if your doctor has been recalled for unsafe practice or problems and behavior," said Oshel.
The Texas Medical Board did order disciplinary action and monitoring of Dr. Ortiz for the 2020 Garland incident, just weeks before his arrest in the Dallas cases.
Oshel says legally, if someone surrenders their medical privileges instead of having them revoked, the facility is required to report that to the National Practitioners Database, but the database is only available for hospitals and medical facilities to view.
"Why the secrecy? Back in 1986, when the law was being written the American Medical Association was adamantly opposed to the information being made public because they thought it would hurt doctors ability to attract patients. That people wouldn't understand," said Oshel. "It was information I would want to know as a patient if I was going to select a physician."
FOX 4 has reached out to the Texas Medical Board asking how many complaints the Board has received about Dr. Ortiz. At this time, they have not given a response.