Dennis Quaid gets $750k settlement from hospital for twins’ overdose

Dennis Quaid has accepted a $750,000 settlement from Cedars Sinai medical center over the horrific medical error that almost killed his newborn twins last November. At 12 days old, Thomas Boone and Zoe Grace were brought to the hospital with staph infections. They were mistakenly given a massive 10,000 units of Heparin, a blood thinner used to flush out IV lines, two separate times. The twins were supposed to be given just 10 units. The packaging for the vials that contain the 10 and 10,000 units of Heparin are hard to tell apart as both are colored in shades of blue and have small writing.

The error was detected at the hospital at 9pm at night, at which point the babies were given blood clotting drugs to counteract the Heparin. No one from the hospital notified the Quaids that their twins were in grave condition until the next day, however.

Three babies were killed in an Indiana hospital from the exact same medical error over a year prior to this incident and yet the manufacturer of the drug, Baxter Healthcare Corp, never changed the packaging of Heparin. Quaid is also suing Baxter for their gross error in failing to change the packaging.

Quaid and his wife Kimberley were on 60 minutes this March to talk about the ordeal they went through almost losing their babies. The twins were were born by a surrogate using his sperm and his wife’s eggs after Kimberly suffered five miscarriages. Quaid came across as both passionate and committed to ensuring that future medical errors are prevented. He has since founded The Quaid Foundation, with a mission to bring awareness to preventable medical errors. Quaid also testified in front of Congress this Spring to urge them not to support a measure by the drug companies that would make them immune from lawsuits.

Many people hear about litigation and roll their eyes, but in my opinion Quaid absolutely did the right thing in this case. If no one sued the drug companies or hospitals for mistakes, how would they be held accountable for them? It’s not a perfect way to address it by any means, but it does provide some kind of check to a very flawed system.

Dennis Quaid’s twins are healthy and thriving at 13 months old. According to the 60 minutes report this Spring, they have passed all medical tests and do not seem to have suffered lasting results from the overdose.

[Some of the wording in the introduction is from an earlier article we wrote about this case.]

Dennis Quaid is shown outside The Late Show on 10/8/08. His twins are shown outside a hotel in Berlin with their nanny on 8/4/08. Credit: WENN. Dennis and Kimberley Quaid are shown out in Florence, Italy on 8/31/08

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22 Responses to “Dennis Quaid gets $750k settlement from hospital for twins’ overdose”

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  1. HotMess says:

    I do not consider this a victory by any means. He does not need the money he is rich actor. The 750K that he got from the hospital settlement will just be passed down to the patients. They will just charge pateints more for hospital stays and visits. I do not think that drug companies should be sued. The cost of medications are outrageous already. More lawsuits just increase the cost. Bottomline for all those who think that the Quaids taught the hospital a lesson by this lawsuit. Who do you think helps pay for the hospitals to run? We do by the insurance that we pay and the private pay. So he just stuck it to the patients. Why do you think hospitals often send some of their staff home when there is a low patient census? Think about it. The nanny raises he twins anyway. Thanks for the extra hospital expense Mr Quaid.

  2. HotMess says:

    I think that Dennis Quaid should stick to what he knows best and that is acting. How can he make a foundation for decreasing hospital errors? Does he know anything about the medical profeesion? First and foremost doctors are human and they do make errors. It happens. Bringing lawsuits against doctors and hospitals is not going to change that. What it does is make a lot of people not want to become physician because of the increasing litigation. There is a shortage of doctors in this country because of it believe it or not. It is the common people will suffer. There will come a time when people will be hard press to find a physician to care for them, and it will be because of these stupid lawsuits. Brought about by people who do not know a thing about healthcare.

  3. HEB says:

    Relax, he’ll probably donate the 750 K to a related cause, and if there isn’t one, he’ll probably start one–he was pretty intent raising awareness for this issue.

  4. Val says:

    Hotmess I think you are profoundly wrong about this. Yes litigation in the US is ridiculous at times. But the fact that Quaid is a “rich actor” has nothing to do with the fact that the staff and/or drug company’s errors seriously injured his children and they could have died as a result of that injury. Should we expect someone with money to not go after someone who cause them harm? And yes people are human and make mistakes, that is why there is insurance, and if the malpractice rates for Cedars go up everytime they make a mistake – may they will STOP MAKING MISTAKES!

  5. Phat girl says:

    What?! He absolutely has every right to sue the hospital that almost killed his children. This was not a mistake in judgement made by a caring doctor. This was a mistake in packaging made by a pharmaceutical company and a hospital that in light of past mistakes should have been prepared not to overdose babies to save a few bucks in production costs. Is the American system of healthcare totally screwed up? You bet, but it is fundamentally the result of greed and a lack of oversight on behalf of medical companies that put profit over the welfare of their consumers and the government that should be governing them. Tort reform may look like a sensible alternative to “jackpot justice” but in reality it is more akin to cutting off your nose to spite your face, leaving us all unprotected with little or no alternatives.

  6. Syko says:

    I don’t believe you need to know a thing about health care to bring a lawsuit against a medical facility whose carelessness nearly cost the lives of your infant children. The verdict does seem a little high, considering that both children recovered with no ill effects, though.

    Frivolous litigation is one thing. Litigation when you have been damaged is another. I think he had every right to sue, and I’m glad he won. Are we supposed to settle for second rate health care just to avoid scaring off prospective new doctors? I don’t think so.

  7. LondonParis says:

    There was already a mistake made. THREE babies DIED. Someone should have already sued (they probably have, but without the huge press coverage, they aren’t getting settlements quite as fast) Baxter Healthcare Corp. THEIR error in labeling is the cause. 👿

    Dennis Quaid’s experience with this error is plain evidence that his lifestyle has nothing to do with it- it can happen to anyone.
    If I were in his place, I’d have sued the socks off of them.

  8. LondonParis says:

    Syko- If the same error hadn’t already killed three babies, I doubt the settlement would have been as high… they’re probably just trying to get it out of the public eye ASAP.

  9. Victoria says:

    Dennis is not being honest about the birth of the twins. A surrogate had them, yes we know that. But why? His wife had a cold? Didn’t want to ruin her body? Or is this what you do when you have money? Rent a Womb?

  10. MoJo says:

    @Victoria It probably had something to do with the fact that the wife had suffered FIVE miscarriages already, as mentioned in the above article.

    As for the settlement, well, I’m glad he got that. I grew up surrounded by medical professionals and in an area where they’re being affected by the over-litigious (fewer doctors want to work in the state just across the border from where I am because insurance is SO high, which only hurts the people there) society we’re living in now. And because of that, people don’t take seriously things like this situation. It was a stupid beyond stupid mistake for the people caring for his kids ,and it’s a stupid mistake by the drug company for not doing anything the FIRST time it happened.

    Bravo, Quaid. We need more awareness on the REAL problems and not the frivolous BS of people who just want some cash. $750K is hardly compensation for nearly costing a family their children, but at least this mistake is being brought to light. The ones who make mistakes like this need to be held accountable.

  11. Annie says:

    In reference to what Victoria said, I second Mojo’s reply.

    And as someone who works in the field, I think that suing those drug companies isn’t even CLOSE to enough.

    Reading complaint after complaint of what some of these drug companies get away with….it’s scary. I’m talking about misrepresentations just to push a couple thousand more pills even though they can result in anything from brain damage, seizures, death. These companies and the CEOs who run them have NO shame. And all they care about is the cold hard cash they get to put into their hands. Hellloooo, where were you people when the big stock backdating scandal made headlines!?

    I shudder at the mere notion that idiots like HotMess exist.

  12. HotMess says:

    The fact still remains you will have fewer physicians who will treat you because of litigation. By the way he did not sue the drug company he sued the hospital. Physicians make mistakes and they pay high malpractice premiums because people want to sue all the time. Many physicians are leaving their practices because of the high practice of malpractice insurance. Some insurance companies that sell malpractice insurance are going out of business because they cannot afford to insure doctors. It is not as simple as the insurance company pays no big deal. Are you aware that insurance companies will not pay for punitive damages? That is left up to the doctor to pay. Yes people make mistakes, it happens. I guess when drug companies stop turning out new drugs because of litigation people will see how big of a problem this really is. Drug companies cannot be sued for certain vaccines, I think this should go across the board and say that they cannot be sued period. I guess when people have to travel great distances to see a physician they will finally wake up.

  13. HotMess says:

    There are already millions of people who go without health insurance already. What these lawsuits do is make it more difficult for people to be able to afford insurance think about. Hospital gets sued. The hospital just passes this on to the patients, through higher hospital bills. In turn the insurance raises premiums to offset the cost of the higher cost of hospital stays. So this one judgement just screwed people over. The hospital doesn’t care because we are the hospital, we make the hospital work through our admissions, and er visits ect, ect, ect. Somebody google physician shortage in the US and see what some of the reasons are. It is only going to get worse as the baby boomers age and there will be no one around to take care of them. Think about. Tort reform is needed.

  14. HotMess says:

    You ever wonder why your doctor orders a battery of test that may not be needed? It is because they are afraid of being sued. Who do you think pays for all those test? You do. I guess people like the idea of people winning the lottery over suits like these. Dennis does not have a care in the world when it comes to healthcare he can afford the best of the best medical care. But what about the working poor?

  15. lanette says:

    i wish he won more…

  16. HotMess says:

    With more and more people losing their jobs people are going to wish that they had affordable healthcare. People will find this out once things get worse and we go into a depression.

  17. HotMess says:

    The drug companies are regulated by the FDA. Why not sue the FDA, Dennis Quaid?

  18. Dirty Martini says:

    Newsflash to the world: Mistakes happen in healthcare everyday. This mistake was made by well meaning, likely overworked and harried nurses and pharmacists. He’s right to sue. He’s right to settle for under a million.

    Use this as a learning experience. That’s what the airlines do. They don’t punish mistakes….they celebrate them, they use them as learning experience, and they encourage and incentivize reporting on them.

    And by the way: this wasnt the drug industry’s fault. Suing the drug manufacturer is just plain gilding the lily. The mistake was made at the hospital, in the NICU, by nurses and pharmacists.

  19. orion70 says:

    I can imagine this being terrifying for any parent, rich or poor.

    I hope they, in turn, donate the money to a children’s hospital or something.

  20. DLR in Canada says:

    i am shocked. i mean those babies almost died, plus other babies died. i don’t want to play devil’s advocate, but what if the quaid babies had died? would the quaids be so willing to accept just 750K? two entities are clearly at fault. first are the hospital people that didn’t double-check the drug packages. second, above all, is the drug company that for some idiotic reason deemed fit to have pretty much the same packaging for two different dosages. i mean why not have one blue and the other orange, than even a bleary-eyed over-worked nurse or doctor would be aware of which drug was which. i may not know the whole details, but the fact is the quaid babies almost died because a bunch of people made a big boo-boo. what about long-term effects? sure they are said to be okay now, but who knows what happened in their bodies and in the cells and blood that could be like a ticking time bomb.

  21. Sad story. Over hospitals there should be a strict control. That the such has never repeated.

  22. michelle says:

    Hats off to Dennis and his wife for trying to improve our world. It is famous people that can change things so much quicker. The packaging needs to be changed and should have been changed after the first mistake. It is a shame that people are looking at this with dollars and cents; they are certainly not doing it for that reason, they are doing it to prove a valuable point. They should have received 750 million dollars for a mistake like that. I pray you plant a seed for all FDA approved medication. How dare the FDA approve that type of packaging. Yet they don’t approve drugs that work and are inepensive because of the connections they have with pharmaceutical companies. Whoever wrote about how because of the Quaid’s the prices will go up, that is bull, medication continues to go up because of the pharmaceutical companies having full control of the FDA. Why is it that in the United States most medications cost double, triple,etc. of what the exact same medication made by the same pharmaceutical company cost in Mexico or other countries? What a shame! I am blessed that I live on a border city and all I have to do is cross a bridge to get my medication for 1/4 of the price. Hats off to the Quaids, may changes be made….