Quaid blames hospital for infant OD


Dennis Quaid, Kimberly Buffington
Dennis Quaid, Kimberly Buffington

Dennis Quaid arrives with his wife, Kimberly Buffington, at the premiere of a film in Los Angeles, in this April 11, 2006, file photo. A hospital put three children, including Dennis Quaid's newborn twins, in danger by giving them overdoses of a blood thinner, California regulators said Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008.

Chris Pizzello/The Associated Press, file photo
Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 11:21 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 11:21 a.m.

LOS ANGELES - Dennis Quaid said staff at the prestigious Cedars-Sinai Medical Center misled him while his newborn twins were being treated there, telling him the children were "fine" even as doctors scrambled to reverse a blood thinning medicine overdose.

Quaid told the Los Angeles Times in an interview published Tuesday that he called the hospital the night of Nov. 18 and was assured that his children with his wife, Kimberly, were "fine."

But about two hours before that call, nurses had noticed his daughter oozing blood from an intravenous site on her arm and a spot on her heel, state records show. The Quaids said no one notified them, and they feel betrayed and misled.

"Our kids could have been dying, and we wouldn't have been able to come down to the hospital to say goodbye," Quaid told the newspaper.

Hospital spokesman Richard Elbaum declined to address most of the Quaids' allegations directly.

"Throughout the course of their children's hospitalization and continuing today, we have reached out to the Quaids to discuss any concerns or questions they have," Elbaum said. "We would like to continue to discuss all of these and any other concerns directly with the Quaids to identify and resolve any questions."

The Quaids sued the makers of heparin last month, saying Baxter Healthcare Corp., based in Deerfield, Ill., was negligent in packaging different doses of the product in similar vials with blue backgrounds. Three patients, including the twins, received vials containing 10,000 units per milliliter of heparin instead of vials with a concentration of 10 units per milliliter.

Baxter spokeswoman Deborah Spak said last month the problem was "improper use of a product." In February, the company sent a letter warning health care workers to carefully read labels on the heparin packages.

The Quaids' lawyer, Susan E. Loggans, said the hospital was slow to provide full documentation, and that her clients have not made a decision about whether to add the hospital to a lawsuit against the heparin manufacturer who supplied the drug.

"We want to see how they respond," she said. "We'd like to give them a chance to right a wrong."

The hospital has previously issued an apology to the patients' families and said it has taken steps to provide more training to staff and review all policies and procedures involving high-risk medication.

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