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Dennis Quaid Files Lawsuit Over Drug Mix-up

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 10:34 AM EST
Category: Protecting Your Family
Tags: Heparin, Hep-Lock, Prescription Errors, Federal Preemption, Quaid, Baxter

Quaid v. Baxter Again


IMAGE SOURCE: Access Hollywood Web site

Actor Dennis Quaid has filed a lawsuit against Baxter Healthcare Corp. for a drug mix-up at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in 2007 that nearly killed his newborn twins.

The 10-da- old twins were in the hospital to treat a staph infection in 2007 when they received 10,000 units of Heparin rather than 10 units of the lower dose Hep-Lock.

The anticoagulants are both made by Baxter and are in similar vials with blue background labels.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the twins, Zoe Grace and Thomas Boone, states that Baxter Healthcare should have recalled the vials of Heparin and corrected the labels because the company knew other infants had died from a similar medication error.

The company was obligated to warn health care practitioners about the previous medication errors, according to the complaint.

The babies began bleeding out, suffered internal injuries and shock, but appear to have recovered. The complaints filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court says the extent of long-term injuries will not be known for years.

The Quaids sued Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and reportedly signed off on $750,000 settlement with the hospital which did not admit any wrongdoing.

The twins’ overdose is just one of the estimated 100,000 fatalities stemming from medical errors that occur every year in American hospitals and from pharmaceuticals.

Federal Preemption

Baxter Healthcare Corporation had tried to have the lawsuit thrown out of court under federal preemption, which offers blanket immunity to drug and device makers citing approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Quaid appeared both on “60 Minutes” and before Congress to testify about dangerous drug errors and the rights of Americans to seek justice in a courtroom.

“My family blessedly survived a huge drug error, triggered by the misconduct of a drug manufacturer. Others are not so fortunate. If they are denied access to our courts, they will have no compensation for their injuries, and society will lose one of the most effective incentives for safer drugs.”

Quaid and his wife Kimberly had filed a lawsuit against Deerfield, Illinois-based Baxter which was dismissed in 2008 on jurisdictional grounds as the drug mix-up occurred in California. #


Anonymous User
Posted by Harry H
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 1:17 PM EST

His first lawsuit against Baxter was dismissed in Illinois, 2 years later he tries again in California.

Here are the facts........

A safety notice was issued in Feb 2007 to all hospitals to read the labels before administering Heparin. At the same time, labels were being redesigned by the company.


For those who do not know the regulatory process of the FDA. Label changes do not happen overnight and are not instantly approved.

The label design changes were submitted to the FDA in August 2007 - several weeks before this happened to the Quaids and were approved for use in 2008. No 3 year wait...

It is the responsibility of nurses and pharmacists to double check the drugs that are being issued and administered.

Anonymous User
Posted by lesliep
Thursday, May 27, 2010 1:34 PM EST

As a RN I can say that many changes have been made secondary to this medication error. These changes were for the best. All hospitals must adhear to these mandates. That being said, We in the healthcare profession donot take our work lightly. This is not a perfect world. Thank God the twins are safe and healthy. Why are you pushing this Denis?? You have made your point! Change has taken place. Be grateful you have your family intact.

Anonymous User
Posted by JILL PAUL RN
Thursday, May 27, 2010 5:20 PM EST

Jane, here we go again with the escape of responsibility attributed to pre-emption. Fortunately the law has changed for Pharmaceuticals but not so for medical device manufacturers. Changes to Heparin labelling and guidelines for the administration of it, should have occurred many years ago. However, because of Dennis Quaids persistence, and those of others who have been affected, changes in the administration of Heparin have now been instituted nationally, I believe, At least at our hospital, two RN's have to check the Heparin dosage against the order and sign off on it, just as we do with Insulin. Heparin comes in so many different dosages it can be easily confused if one is not paying meticulous attention to what they are administering. Thank you Mr. Quaid for bringing this to the lime light and thankfully your twins have not suffered any long lasting effects from this tragic error.

Comments for this article are closed.

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