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Dennis Quaid's Newborn Twins in Medical Nightmare

11/20/2007 6:45 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

TMZ has learned that Dennis Quaid's newborn twins are fighting for their lives after being inadvertently overdosed at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Sources tell us the twins -- Thomas Boone and Zoe Grace -- were accidentally given a massive dose of Heparin, an anti-coagulant. Babies typically get 10 units. Our sources say they were each mistakenly given 10,000 units. The drug is used to flush out IV lines and prevent blood clots. We're told one dose was given on Sunday morning, another on Sunday evening.

We're told late Sunday night, both babies started to "bleed out." Both babies are now at Cedars in the neo-natal intensive care unit where we're told they are stable.

The twins were born to Quaid and wife Kimberly Buffington November 8 via surrogate.

A rep for Quaid did not immediately return our call for comment and there was no immediate comment from Cedars.

We're told a technician stored the Heparin in the wrong place, and when a nurse grabbed the medicine for the babies without looking -- it was the wrong dosage.

A source says the babies are now being given Protamine, which reverses the effects of Heparin.

UPDATE: We're told as many as thirteen patients at Cedars were mistakenly given the overdose of Heparin, but the effects are more critical because of the age and weight of the twins.

Story developing ...

547 COMMENTS

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511.

DFB    

First I want to say God bless all the babies involved in this tragedy. I pray for their full recovery. My thoughts and prayers also go out to the family members of this terrible ordeal.No one deserves this. I also know how horrible the nurse and tech must feel about what happened. A mistake was made that cant be taken back, we should consentrate all our energies in prayer rather than bash those who made the mistake, I am sure they feel horrible enough already. Know one is perfect! Only those who are perfect should cast the first stone. The pharmecutical companies should package similar meds in different packaging so these mistakes are no longer made. This is very common. I took care of my dad during his long fight with cancer. Let me tell you, if I had not been there ever second of the way , he would of died 4 times over by the mistakes I caught with his medicines because of similar packaging. One example, he was taken double albuterol in his nebulizing machine instead of one albuterol and one bromine. The packages were exactly the same. frosted plastic vial, with the medicine names printed by raising the plastic on the vial. STUPID PACKAGING !! That was just one of the four examples. So dont be so hard on the nurse. People are not machines they make mistakes, sometimes those mistakes are very costly. Dennis so so sorry this has happened. I pray for your babies and the other babies involved. God take care of them!

2438 days ago
512.

cazz    

As an RN... I can say I feel bad for all those involved. This IS NOT a common error, but it IS an easy one to make when the med is stored in the pyxis in the wrong place. I must add, however, that the nurse is responsible to check the med (s)he is giving BEFORE giving it.

They will probably NOT die, by the way. And statements like that shouldn't be made without qualification.

I must also state the the person in the doctor's office that is taking your blood pressure... is more than likely NOT a nurse, but a medical assistant or CNA.

2438 days ago
513.

Karin    

One would think that these celebrity tots would have received the most attentive care possible -- in other words, what hope is there for the rest of us if even their celebrity status couldn't help them... how in the hell do these things continue to occur?

2438 days ago
514.

Debbie    

I have been an R.N. for 20 years and unfortunately these kind of things happen frequently. That's why you use your 5 R's. Right patient, right drug, right dose, right route and right time. At my hospital we scan the patients arm band and the drug. The computer sends RED FLAGS when either of the 5 R's are not right for that patient. Even with this in place now, we double check insulin and heparin and all critical drugs with 2 R.N.'s and did before the computers were available. Yes, the error started with the pharmacy but, there are so many chanels this has to go throught before the baby actually gets the drug. It's hard for me to believe that a hospital such as Cedars-Sinai does not have these precautions in place. I will be praying for these twins.

2438 days ago
515.

RN in TN    

I feel so badly for the Quaids! At the same time proper ID of the Heparin was not made. The vials are very very distinguishable where I work and are different sized and colored for the different dosages. Heparin and Insulin doses should ALWAYS be verified with another nurse. This would not have happened if the proper protocol had been followed. I would imagine the nurse and the pharmacy tech are out of a job. I pray that God helps those poor babies and is with the Quaids.

2438 days ago
516.

Nancy R.N.    

My heart and soul go out to the babies and their parents.
The rule is check 3 times, right patient, right dose, right time
everytime. I have caught multiple pharm errors in my career.
Everyone at every step of the way is responsible follow procedure. The nurse should have caught this. If a dose seems wrong, she should not give it but seek clarification. If she still thinks it is wrong she can refuse to administer and contact her supervisor, the doctor and if necessary chief of staff. From a long time peds R.N.

2438 days ago
517.

Roto rooter    

Why, just look at all these shocked and dismayed comments, with not a bit of indignation! Remember Walnut Creek; 3 dead and 13 hospitalized from the same thing? ---No control of Sterile Compounding. ---No QA. Yet, the hospital makes about a 5000 percent profit on these critical medications. Are we all completely ignorant? It's as if we all have to accept this kind of preventable screw-up and 'hope for the best.' Well, here's some data for all you good people: This kind of thing happens about 2-300 times a day--it's just that poor Dennis and his wife are celebrities, so their case gets the kind of publicity everyone's screw-up should, but doesn't. The sad--no--infuriating fact is that this kind of thing kills about 100,000 people a year (Institute of Medicine Report, "To Err is Human,' March, 2001). Instead of Capital greed, ignorance, poor attitude, and carelessness, we call it 'Medication Error.' Now--how's that for a euphemism! I guess that makes us all feel better. Bottom Line: It's time these overpaid, greedy medical entrepreneurs get some control over this murderous business, and stop calling this kind of ignorance an 'error.' When any member of the public purchases a critical sterile medication, THAT's what it needs to be: Sterile, Safe, Non-Pyrogenic, and of the proper purity and identity. The real joke here: The FDA is completely powerless to act against doctors, nurses, pharmacists, or technicians; it has no authority. Bet you didn't know that! It's called 'States Rights.'

So, Medical Establishment take notice: This is completely unacceptable, notwithstanding the astronomical amounts we pay for 'healthcare' in this country. Take some of your huge and unwarranted profits and buy some inexpensive Quality Assurance, before you kill again.

2438 days ago
518.

Rockin'Robin    

It's true that the vials are very similar, but any professional RN knows the basic R's of giving ANY medication regardless of what drug, dose, etc is in the patient's med drawer.
Right patient, Right Medication, Right dose (if the nurse checked this the error never would have occurred), Right route of administration and so on..............

2438 days ago
519.

Joan Palmer    

This Could Have Been A Tragic Mistake For The Two Newborn Twins! This Should Have Never Happened In The First Place, Especially In A Hospital! I Hope That They Fire The Technicial, & He, & Hospital Are Held Accountable For That Mistake!! & I Hope That The Twins, Fully Recover, From This Tragedy!!

2438 days ago
520.

Richard, R.N.    

As a Nurse, I can say that the finger of blame can be pointed in several directions. First I think at the manufacturer because vials are too similar and need to be styled in uniquely different sizes or configurations. Then, at the hospital and its protocol. It should be required that when infants receive certain potentially dangerous medications such as Heparin, that TWO NURSES examine the Doctor's order, verify the correct dosage and medication including the vial label and then BOTH sign the medication record. Pharmacy protocol needs evaluation along with applicable Nursing protocols . Accidents are ALWAYS caused, they do not just 'happen.'

2438 days ago
521.

Dana Stuart    

I buried my newborn twins 2 years ago today. There is nothing worse in the world. I hope these babies pull through.

2438 days ago
522.

marianne    

What is with #9 BAM BAM how insensitive can you get. I truly don't understand our society anymore. Where did compassion go?? I wish and pray for Dennis Quaid and his wife and his beautiful babies. That God will hold them in his hands and grace them with a full recovery. To be given God's greatest gift and then have it taken away is awful. I am the mother of twins and can't imagine my life with out them. I hope the Quaid's get the chance to raise their TWINS!!!

2438 days ago
523.

Clr2Sea    

Oh that's HORRRRRRIBLE!!!! My God, I thought Cedars-Sinai was a good hospital. Those nurses and doctors really need to go back to KINDERGARTEN and learn math! I mean, that's bull! There's no excuse whatsoever in a math error like that. It just goes to show how truly decrepit our medical system is for ALL of us-even the rich and famous are no longer immune; just ask Kanye West about that. I hope Dennis' babies and the other victims of that "mistake" pull through. Also, I hope Dennis and the other families involved sue Cedars-Sinai like hell! There is absolutely no excuse for those babies and the other people that were overdosed to be going through such a catastrophe.

2438 days ago
524.

Lynn    

This is a lawsuit waiting to happen. God bless those babies and the parents.

2438 days ago
525.

Donna Elder    

This story is sure different than the statement that Cedars gave. The above story says thirteen, the below statement says three. Which is true? It is copy/paste below: It came from TMZ.com Moviefone
Statement From 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.

2437 days ago
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