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Quaids Settle With Hospital Over Twins' Heparin Overdose

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, December 16, 2008 12:58 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Medical Errors, Medical Malpractice, Federal Pre-emption, Diana Levine, Heparin, FDA and Prescription Drugs, Baxter Healthcare

The Quaids lawsuit against Baxter over heparin has settled for $750,000.



IMAGE SOURCE: The Quaid Foundation Web site


Documents show that the lawsuit against Cedars-Sinai Medical Center by actor, Dennis Quaid and his wife has settled for $750,000.

A petition filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday shows the Quaids have agreed on the parents’ damages after their newborn twins received an overdose of the blood thinner heparin. 

The Quaids can still pursue claims for their twins, Zoe Grace and Thomas Boone, who have since recovered are now reported to be in good health. 

In November 2007, the Quaid twins were 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, twice.

The babies began bleeding out but were stabilized after receiving protamine sulfate, which reverses the effects of heparin. The long-term effects of the overdose are unknown.

The hospital did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement, but previously had apologized to the family. 

Three other infants died earlier in 2007 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.  

On that basis, the Quaids sued Baxter Healthcare Corp. in Illinois for not pulling vials of heparin while it was fixing problems with labeling. That case has since been dismissed.

Baxter may also have plans to sue Cedars-Sinai, which had administered an overdose of heparin to other patients beside the Quaid twins in November 2007.

Quaid became a spokesman for consumers about the dangers of medical malpractice and the issue of federal pre-emption.

Speaking before a House Oversight Committee in May, the actor warned medical errors are at an all-time high with an average of one per patient per day that leads to 100,000 deaths a year.

Quaid warned lawmakers not to remove the courts as a remedy for harmed patients.

“Like many Americans, I believed that a big problem in our country was frivolous lawsuits. But now I know that the courts are often the only path to justice for families that are harmed by the pharmaceutical industry and medical errors.”

A panel of medical experts testifying alongside Quaid agreed that a policy of federal pre-emption would harm drug safety.

The issue of pre-emption of common tort action against drug and medical device companies was heard before the U.S. Supreme Court in November. A decision in the Diana Levine case will be heard sometime next year.

In March, the Quaids went on 60 Minutes to discuss their case. They had promised any settlements would go to fund their new nonprofit, The Quaid Foundation, whose mission is to fight the “conspiracy of silence” about medical errors.  #

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