Quaid Sues Drug Maker After Twins' Heparin Overdose

Actor Dennis Quaid's twins almost died after being given huge dose of heparin.

Dec. 5, 2007 — -- Actor Dennis Quaid is suing a drug company after his newborn twins were accidentally given 1,000 times the prescribed dose of the blood-thinning drug heparin.

It's not the first time the drug has been overprescribed, and Quaid and his wife, Kimberly Buffington said they want to make sure it never happens again.

It was a terrifying time for the Quaids as their newborn twins, a boy and a girl, fought for their lives after doctors at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles mistakenly administered the dangerous dose of heparin after they went in to be treated for a staph infection. Two weeks later, the twins have recovered, but the Quaids are on a mission to prevent the >mistake from happening to others. They are suing the manufacturer of the drug, Baxter Healthcare Cooperation, for more than $50,000.

The twins, Thomas Boone and Zoe Grace, are doing "fantastic," said Quaid's attorney, Susan Loggans, today on "Good Morning America."

"There appears to be no residual effect" on the twins' health, Loggans said, but she added that there are no long-term studies on heparin overdoses in children.

"They're not angry," Loggans said of the Quaids. "They are devout Christains, and they believe God saved their babies."

Lawsuit: Packaging Not Different Enough

At issue is the product's packaging. Quaid's children were intended to receive a 10 unit dose of heplock, a diluted version of heparin, but instead received a whopping 10,000 units of heparin. The lawsuit suggests that the mistake was made because the two bottles share remarkably similar blue labels and a common shape.

And it's not the first time a hospital has made such a mistake. Last year, three premature babies died at an Indianapolis hospital when nurses inadvertently switched the baby-friendly heplock with the much stronger heparin.

"The lawsuit is not about money," Loggans said. "This lawsuit is about the Quaids not wanting this to happen to another baby."

After the deaths in Indianapolis, Baxter issued a safety alert to health care providers, but those blue labels remained on the drug.

This fall, the company changed its heparin packaging by adding a red caution label that must be torn off before the vial can be opened.

The lawsuit argues that the packaging "should have been completely distinguishable [by] size and shape."

Baxter issued a statement saying, "While we strive to clearly differentiate our products and dosages, no amount of differentiation will replace the value of clinicians carefully reviewing and reading a drug name and dose before dispensing and administering it."The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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