Having each lived through a parent’s worst nightmare, Dennis Quaid and his wife, Kimberly, are speaking out again about the medical errors that nearly took the lives of their newborn twins – this time for a national television audience.
“[Mix-ups] happen in every hospital in every state in this country and I’ve come to find out, there’s 100,000 people a year killed in hospitals by a medical mistakes,” the actor, 53, tells 60 Minutes in a segment scheduled to air Sunday, CBS reports.
“It’s bigger than AIDS. It’s bigger than breast cancer. It’s bigger than automobile accidents and yet, no one seems to be really aware of the problem,” says Quaid, who also details the ordeal he and his wife experienced.
Last November, Thomas Boone and Zoe Grace Quaid – who were hospitalized due to a suspected infection – nearly died at Los Angeles’s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after mistakenly being given a massive overdose of the drug Heparin, an adult-strength blood thinner, rather than Hep-tock, a much-weaker version of the drug routinely given to clear IV lines in pediatric patients.
“Our kids are bleeding from everyplace that they’ve punctured,” says Quaid. “They were working on Boone, whose belly button would not stop bleeding – blood squirted across the room. It was blood everywhere. It was a life-and-death situation.” (Last month, Quaid said the babies are now doing fine.)
Suing the Manufacturer
The vials Hep-lock and Heparin looked similar, contend the Quaids, who are suing manufacturer Baxter International. A parallel incident in Indiana resulted in three infant fatalities and for Baxter to re-label its vials and issue a warning to hospitals.
“After these three kids died in Indiana, they did not issue a recall,” says Quaid, noting that toasters and trucks are routinely recalled. “They recall dog food that came from China last year. But they don’t recall medicine that kills people if you give it in the wrong dosage. We think it’s wrong.”
Debra Bello, a senior director at Baxter, tells 60 Minutes that her company did not issue a recall, “Because the product was safe and effective, and the errors, as the hospital has acknowledged, were preventable and due to failures in their system.”
Quaid is now establishing a foundation to look into preventative measures within the medical system. “We all have this inherent thing that we trust doctors and nurses, that they know what they’re doing. This mistake occurred right under our noses,” he says. “The nurse didn’t bother to look at the dosage on the bottle. It was avoidable, completely avoidable.”