The accidental overdose of actor Dennis Quaid’s newborn twins is one of about 1.5 million medical mistakes made in the U.S. every year.
And, according to a United States Pharmacopeia study released in March 2007, children are almost three times as likely as adults to be harmed by medical mistakes.
The Quaid twins, Thomas Boone and Zoe Grace, were given 1,000 times the normal concentration of heparin, a blood thinner used to prevent clots, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, on November 19, 2007. The twins were born Nov. 8.
The Quaids filed a lawsuit December 4 against the makers of heparin claiming Baxter Healthcare Corp. was negligent in packaging different doses of the drug in similar vials with blue backgrounds.
Sadly, the massive overdose to the Quaid twins is but one of thousands of mistakes made by doctors and medical staff every day.
“If the life of the Quaid twins can be put in peril by a massive overdose at such a renowned hospital, we must wonder how safe are the more anonymous babies lying in hospital nurseries less reputable than Cedars Sinai,” says Cochran, Kroll & Associates, one of Michigan’s leading medical malpractice attorneys.
Cochran, Kroll & Associates won a $15.8 million verdict, the largest in Michigan for 2006, for a medical error to a baby causing Cerebral Palsy, recovered $1.2 million on behalf of a baby born with Spina Bifida, and recovered $900,000 for the parents of a baby born with Down Syndrome.
Last year, three babies died at an Indianapolis hospital after a pharmacy technician stocked a medicine cabinet with vials containing heparin with a concentration 1,000 times stronger than what was normally kept there. Nurses didn’t check the label and administered the wrong dosage. The Quaid lawsuit filed Dec. 4 says Baxter Healthcare should have recalled the large-dosage vials after the Indianapolis deaths.
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices lists anti-coagulants, including heparin, as high-alert medications, because they have “a heightened risk of causing significant patient harm” when used in error.”
The Quaid twins survived the massive overdose and are now doing well, according to a family spokesman, but too many similar victims are not as fortunate.
“Most people do not realize that more than 700,000 Americans die each year because of medical mistakes,” stressed Cochran, Kroll & Associates. “Victims need an attorney to uncover the truth because most medical malpractice mistakes are covered up by doctors and hospitals.”