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Cedars-Sinai Put Quaid Twins and Others in Harm's Way

Posted by Jane Akre
Thursday, January 10, 2008 3:29 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Heparin, FDA and Prescription Drugs, Medical Malpractice

 

Cedars-Sinai Blasted by state health report that says there were multiple violations over the heparin overdosing of the Dennis Quaid twins.

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As a result of the overdosing of the newborn twins of actor Dennis Quaid and another infant, the state has issued a 20-page report blasting Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles for putting pediatric patients in danger.

Quaid and his wife say they were particularly upset to learn from the state report that their chidren were given heparin 2,000 times stronger than what was prescribed.

The couple previously considering filing a lawsuit against the prestigious Los Angeles hospital. 

We find it outrageous and totally unacceptable that we are learning for the first time... exactly what transpired," the actor and his wife, Kimberly, said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times."We were told by upper Cedars-Sinai administration that our children had received only one 10,000 unit dose of heparin when in fact they had received two 10,000 unit doses over an 8-hour period that we now know of. The hospital's lack of candor has left us with the uneasy feeling that we may never know the whole story," the statement said.

The California Department of Public Health says the hospital mishandled high-risk drugs that overdosed three children.  The Quaid twins and another infant were given through the blood thinner, heparin at 1,000 times the prescribed dose. Heparin minimizes blood clots in IV tubes.

The report says the “violations were likely to cause, serious injury or death to the patients who received the wrong medication" and faulted the hospital for its "deficient practices".  

On November 18, 2007,  the Quaid twins began to bleed out from the overdose of heparin. They were given coagulants and released home to recover by early December. The third child who received the overdose was released the next day and required no treatment.

The hospital says it has fully cooperated with the investigation.

Previously, the hospital admitted responsibility and issued a statement it was retraining personnel and reinforcing its hospital policy of double verifying medication checked out from its main pharmacy.  Nurses and techs involved were suspended following an investigation.

Ultimately, the state could opt to fine the prestigious hospital.

In early December, Dennis Quaid and his wife, Kimberly Buffington Quaid, filed a product liability lawsuit against Baxter Healthcare for making a heparin bottle in the small dose and larger dose with essentially the same blue background label.

Baxter immediately announced it would change the look of its label.   

In a written statement today to the Los Angeles Times, Cedars Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael L. Langberg says, "While this is a rare event, we are pleased that the [public health department] shares our view that it is an important opportunity for the entire institution to explore any and all ways we can further improve medication safety."

He also said "Each of us is personally responsible for patient safety."  #


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