Welcome! We regret to inform you that the Injury Board National News Desk has been discontinued. Feel free to browse around and enjoy our previously published articles, or visit The Injury Blog Network for the latest in personal injury news.

Quaid Twins Overdosed with Heparin

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, November 21, 2007 10:17 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Medical Malpractice and Negligent Care, Blood Thinners, Heparin

For more information on heparin, please refer to Injuryboard's heparin information page.

It has reportedly happened before at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

This time actor Dennis Quaid’s newborn twins are fighting for their lives after receiving an overdose of Heparin, an anti-coagulant, given to reduce the risk of blood clots.

Babies are routinely given 10 units but the twins, Thomas Boone and Zoe Grace were given 10,000 units Sunday. It's unclear whether they received the dose once or twice.  

The babies began bleeding out and are now reported to be in stable condition at Cedars-Sinai neo-natal unit after receiving protamine sulfate, which reverses the effects of Heparin.

Heparin is routinely used in hospitals to prevent blood clots.  A serious side-effect heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT syndrome). HITS causes platelets to use up coagulation factors that can result in bleeding.  TMZ is reporting that nurses mixed up the bottles after the drugs were kept in the wrong place.

Attorney Joe Saunders reporting on Injuryboard.com in February, writes that three infants died earlier this year when they too received higher doses of Heparin Sodium Injection at 10,000 units a mililiter.  The 10,000 unit dose is in the same size vial as the lower dose with the only difference being a slightly different shade of blue on the label.   The FDA and Bayer issued health warnings to hospitals.

The hospital’s chief medical Officer, Dr. Michael L. Langberg, has issued an apology.

Full Statement from Cedars-Sinai

Statement of Michael L. Langberg, MD Chief Medical Officer, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center:

   “On November 18, three patients who were receiving intravenous medications as part of their treatment had their IV catheters flushed with a solution containing a higher concentration of heparin (a medication used to keep IV catheters from clotting) than normal protocol. As a result of a preventable error, the patients' IV catheters were flushed with heparin from vials containing a concentration of 10,000 units per milliliter instead of from vials containing a concentration of 10 units per milliliter.

The error was identified by Cedars-Sinai staff, who immediately performed blood tests on the patients to measure blood clotting function. Four additional patients in the unit were tested as a precaution. The tests indicated that four of the seven patients had normal blood clotting function, and three had tests indicating prolonged blood clotting function. In one of the three patients, the clotting tests returned quickly to normal. The other two patients were given protamine sulfate, a drug that reverses the effects of heparin and helps restore blood clotting function to normal. Additional medical tests and clinical evaluation conducted on the two patients indicated no adverse effects from the higher concentration of heparin or from the temporary abnormal clotting function. Doctors continue to monitor the patients.

I want to extend my deepest apologies to the families who were affected by this situation, and we will continue to work with them on any concerns or questions they may have. This was a preventable error, involving a failure to follow our standard policies and procedures, and there is no excuse for that to occur at Cedars-Sinai. Although it appears at this point that there was no harm to any patient, we take this situation very seriously. We are conducting a comprehensive investigation, cooperating fully with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services and will take all necessary steps to ensure that this never happens here again.”

The public is very sympathetic if comments to the celebrity website  TMZ  are any indication. Some unsubstantiated reports say it's happened before at Cedars-Sinai.

The babies were born November 8th by a surrogate to actor Quaid and his wife, Kimberly Buffington.




Anonymous User
Posted by jacksmith
Friday, November 23, 2007 6:55 PM EST

My heart goes out to Dennis Quaid and his family. And to Kanye West and his family. These are two unfortunate examples of why it is so important to end the Cancer of private for profit health care delivery in America. HR 676 Single Payer Universal Health Care (Medicare For All) is The Way to go. Like all other developed countries did years ago. See sickocure.org

You see, It's not just about the 47 million Americans that have no insurance. Or the 89 million who went without insurance part of the time from 2006-2007. It's about everyone. Private for profit health care delivery is not only highly immoral, and unethical. It is just down right dangerous, and bad medicine. That injures, and kills millions of Americans needlessly. Disgracefully. Shamefully.

These injuries, and deaths should not have happened. We only heard about them because it happened to celebrities. But these tragedies are happening to thousands of Americans every day in this country. But you don't hear about it. These thousands of needless deaths, and injuries of your loved ones are covered up. Under so-called patient confidentiality. Which is just health care industry speak for "don't tell anybody we injured, or killed another one".

See, no one is immune from the Cancer of private for profit health care delivery. Mr. Quaid's children were being cared for at a very renowned hospital. And I am sure Mr. Quaid probably has excellent insurance. And can afford the finest medical care available. But as it turned out. None of that mattered. Hospitals have always been potentially very dangerous places. But under the pressures of greed, and a rush to profit. All US hospitals have become extremely dangerous, deadly places. Like they were in the 18th century. When hospitals were primarily the place you went to DIE!

I don't know exactly how this tragedy to Mr. Quaid's babies happened. But I imagine it was the same scenario that plays out thousands of times every day across America. Driven by greed, and the profit motive hospitals cut corners as much as they can get away with. This means staff that is over worked. And under staffed. It means hiring the least experienced, and cheapest hospital staff you can get. And pushing out the more experienced safer higher paid staff.

They say the pharmacist stocked the wrong meds. And that the hospitals were warned about this problem months ago. After many other perfectly healthy new born babies were killed by this mistake. I wonder how many thousands of perfectly healthy babies were killed this way across America. And how many thousands are still being killed this way across America.

It should not have mattered what concentration of heparin the pharmacist stocked the medicine cabinets with. Because every one who administers drugs is supposed to have been taught to follow the (7 R's).

a. Right drug,

b. Right patient,

c. Right dose,

d. Right time,

e. Right route,

f. Right reason,

g. Right documentation,

This is just basic practice. A experienced person will check additional things. Before giving a patient a potentially deadly drug.

In anticipation of coming changes in our health care system. Thousands of patients are being killed at a fevered pitch. And millions injured, and poisoned with unnecessary medications, medical procedures, and surgery's. In an orgy of greed, and profiteering a head of proposed changes to our current disgraceful health care system.

HR. 676 Single Payer Universal National Health Care For All (Medicare For All) can fix this disgrace. Until then, I advise you to be careful of taking any recommended medical care at this time without doing your home work. And getting a good independent 2nd, or 3rd opinion. Especially if you have so-called good insurance coverage.

And If you have to receive medical care in, or out of a hospital. Try to have a knowledgeable family member or friend to keep an eye on what they are doing to you.

Good Luck...

Posted by Steve Lombardi
Monday, December 10, 2007 7:49 PM EST

I wrote an IB blog entry on the Quaid's lawsuit and believe it will do more harm than good. Because of who Dennis Quaid is he will receive special consideration to settle his lawsuit and if he signs a confidentiality agreement it will hurt the patients who do not have his star power.

If Dennis Quaid is serious about suing to make sure this will never happen to another parent's child then he and his wife need to lend their star power to defeating tort-deform politicians who pass legislation paid for by drug company lobbyists. It seems to me if politicians had to look their voters in the eye more rather than glad-hand with drug company lobbyists we'd all be better off. So I ask you Dennis Quaid are you in this for what you say or will you settle the case with a confidentiality agreement in place to protect the status quo? If so then I repeat,

Quaid's Quaid's Go Away
Come again some other way!

Steve Lombardi

Blog Address: LINK

Comments for this article are closed.

About the National News Desk

Our mission is to seek the complete truth and provide a full and fair account of the events and issues that surround personal safety, accident prevention, and injury recovery.  We are committed to serving the public with honesty and integrity in these efforts.

Hurt in an accident? Contact an Injury Board member

Subscribe to Blog Updates

Enter your email address if you would like to receive email notifications when comments are made on this post.

Email address


RSS Feed

Add the National News Desk to your favorite RSS reader

Add to Google Reader Add to myYahoo Add to myMSN Add to Bloglines Add to Newsgator Add to Netvibes Add to Pageflakes