Dennis Quaid Working To Raise Awareness About Human Errors In Hospitals

Dennis Quaid

The joys of being a new dad are especially sweet for Dennis Quaid, whose four-month-old twins survived a near-fatal drug overdose while hospitalized late last year.

“It’s the greatest thing to hold those kids and see their faces because we had a happy ending,” he told People magazine. “It’s great be a normal dad with the normal problems of not having enough hands for both of them.”

Dennis, 53, and his wife Kimberly, 36, welcomed twins Thomas Boone and Zoe Grace on November 8th. (The babies were born via gestational carrier). But later that month, the two were accidentally given a massive overdose of the blood thinner Heparin while hospitalized at L.A.’s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center – and spent days battling for their lives.

“I do have a greater appreciation of life in general,” said Dennis, who spoke about his harrowing ordeal and the widespread problem of medical errors at the opening session of the Association of Health Care Journalists’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. “If they hadn’t made it, it really would have changed my life. But they did survive. So it changed my attitude.”

State regulators fined Cedars-Sinai $25,000 last week for giving the overdoses to the twins and another newborn.

The Quaids – who are launching a foundation aimed at reducing the number of medical mistakes – have also filed a lawsuit against Heparin’s drug maker, Baxter Healthcare Corp., accusing it of negligence in packaging adult and pediatric doses in similar vials.

Human error in hospitals “is one of the leading causes of death in our country, [greater] than automobile accidents, breast cancer or AIDS,” Dennis – accompanied by his 15-year-old son Jack, whose mom is Meg Ryan – told the audience.

“Yet because they happen one case at a time, they tend to slip under the public radar unless you’re a celebrity,” he explained. “Because it happened to my family, it was all over the national news. I realized we have an opportunity to raise public awareness about this.”

So how are Zoe and Boone doing now? “Fantastic,” he said. Adding jokingly, “Their progress and their development appears to be completely normal – aside from being a Quaid.”

That’s awesome that he is working to make something positive come from this – by trying to raise awareness and help others. Good for him.

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Comments

  1. says

    Yes, he is very great.His action by trying to raise awareness and help others was encourage many Herpes singles on our STD community” PositiveLoving.com”. Many users can face it now

  2. Tia :) says

    K, K &K’s mommy, Someone thought we were the same person?!?! HAHAHAHAHAHA!! I love it!!!

    Yes I have! She is good! She says hello to everyone…she says she misses you and DMITZ and you too Dori. If you want to get in contact with her join the hellorazzi group! we have pictures on there and everything! it’s cool seeing whst she looks like!!

  3. says

    #34- You and everybody else. Just try to contain your enthusiasm.

    Tia!! I miss talking to you…and I miss the rest of our regulars like Nicki, Oriana, and 2teens. I saw on another post where people were accusing us of being the same person! Too funny…I know we have a good many things in common….but that’s just interesting that someone thought that. (It was one of the crazy copy cat mommies defending themselves…and our names came up). Have you gotten in contact with Oriana yet? I hope things calm down at work soon!

  4. Iluvmy2girlz says

    NO no no no!! i don’t think so tia!! I just did the first one, the two after me were somebody else!!!!!! Ewwww!!! i don’t wanna do anything to KKK’s momma!! LOL

  5. Iluvmy2girlz says

    hey what’s going on here?? these are old news already, doesn’t the WM have anything new to post??

  6. says

    D’Anna you reiterate a good point that I and others did make…read entry #18. Nurses and Doctors are often complained at when things go well due to medical bills and complained at when things go wrong. The appreciation is a bit lacking because the general public sees the status facor and not the sacrifice.

  7. D'Anna says

    What nobody has mentioned is that hospital staff often has insane hours and nurses have shifts lasting 24 and 36 hours at times. Tell me how MORE people aren’t dying or winding up permanently changed from mistakes made in hospitals! Most people are dead on their feet after working 8 or 10 hour shifts.

    Sure, we are trusting medical personnel with our lives, but given those variables, it’s a hard thing to comprehend.

  8. says

    2teens my daughter is quite spunky and very resilient! I support all the naturopathic fans out there. I think there is a place for chemically created medications and technologically advanced medical treatment; however, a holistic approach has helped my daughter tremendously. Attitude is everything and one must strive to be whole no matter what the medical situation may be.

  9. Tia :) says

    hi 2teens. Im worked full time until my daughter was born..then I was off for a year. Then when i went back, I went down to part time…however, i’v been taking in a lot of hours lately because we are short staffed right now! Other than that i only work a few shifts a week…when this baby is born I think I may take a few years off…i would like to be at homes with my babies!

  10. 2teens says

    Hi Tia! Are you working a lot of hours as a nurse? I know many nurses who are also moms… it’s a great profession for them because they can go on rotation and work less hours if they choose.

  11. 2teens says

    Butterfly, the story of your little girl is amazing. She must have strong spirit & determination (and a great mom)… I’m glad that she’s doing so well.

  12. san says

    JX2, herbs are, after all, medicines too, the difference between natural herbs and common medicines is that the first ones have not one, but several medical components, because they haven’t been isolated. That’s why they can cause complications too, especially when someone takes it thinking that they’re harmless.

  13. kim says

    it is sad what happened, although i agree with everyone saying humans are humans. my neighbor is a doctor (surgeon) and the hours they make him work is sickening. I have said to him many times that im not so sure i would want him doing surgery on me because he is so sleep deprived. i dont know if i could clean the house on his amount of sleep let alone save someones life.

  14. Butterfly says

    Thank you #20 Nicki AND thank you for the service that you provide to the medically needy public #19 Tia 🙂

  15. Nicki says

    Butterfly~My best wishes to you and for your daughter and family. Congratulations on being a great Mom.

  16. Tia :) says

    Eir, you take a walk in my shoes, see the things I have seen, do the things I have done, then come back to me. I am a nurse, I am not a god. Yes, it is true we have to go through intensive training to become medical professionals, but in the very end it comes down to the fact that we are only human, and humans make mistakes. I dont agree with what has happened with these poor babies, and i hope the proper measures have been done to deal with this…but I think you are being a bit unfair.

    Liza, thank you…your points are very true!

  17. Butterfly says

    #7 uk mummy thank you for asking. My daughter is 13 and although the original prognosis was that she wouldn’t roll over, walk, talk or eat regular food, I am ecstatically happy to state that she does all of those things. She will be going to high school next year. She has partial paralysis and ended up sewing through her finger in Home Ec last year which required a trip to the ER, and she has to wear night braces on her legs, but she is doing remarkably well and has been on the honor roll in advanced classes all year.

    Children are little miracles and they need to be protected. Doctors and nurses do the best that they can, but they work long hours, sometimes short-staffed. Doctors do not make as much as people think if you consider the cost of malpractice insurance and constant training upgrades and time away from family.

    The Quaid family are beautiful people for the way that they are processing this tragic experience.

  18. Jx2 says

    I have yet to meet a naturopath that I didn’t like. However, I have met oodles of doctors that left me angry and disappointed and as a result I chose to stop being their patient. The naturopath I have has a stellar reputation and isn’t of the “quack” variety. She is more of a herbalist and nutritionist and does not resort to hocus pocus allamagockus techniques for healing.

  19. Liza says

    I just think the thing that people are misunderstanding is the difference between negligence and human error.

    Doctors and naturopaths (who can cause as many problems as doctors) should not be held legally accountable for every mistake they make. And that’s what people seem to want.

  20. Jx2 says

    Liza you have some valid points. The problem is that society puts too much importance on doctors and places them on a pedestal. They are human after all and like all humans they can and DO make fatal errors which unfortunately have cost lives. I do have a doctor which I see once or twice a year but I see my naturopath every month. My doctor seems to think that naturopaths are not to be trusted. I beg to differ.

  21. says

    I am just happy that the babies are ok now. What a terrible, horrible thing to go through. And what about that HUGE mix-up with the immunization shots down in Las Vegas? Supposedly a HUGE amount of kids were infected with Hep A or B and also HIV. But when it comes to celebs it’s all UP IN THE NEWS. When it comes to regular people no one cares. NE1 hear about this?

  22. Eir says

    I think the saddest part is that doctors and nurses have MANY protocols they have to jump through hoops for even before they can administer medication, so HOW on earth is it possible for them to mess it up? There are so many things they have to do before they’re even supposed to cut, inject, etc. And yet people continue to die from stupid mistakes.

    There was a man that had his GOOD kidney taken out, who had cancer on his other kidney. What did the hospital say? ‘We feel very responsible for this. We apologized to the family, and are working towards a resolution.’ UHHH. THAT’S PROBABLY BECAUSE IT WAS YOU THAT CAUSED THIS TO BEGIN WITH?

    Seriously. That man will now die because his cancer was severe, and had to have his kidney taken out- and now he’s working with a kidney that isn’t even functioning correctly anymore. Way to go, hospital. Way. To. Go.

  23. Cheryl says

    What happened to his babies is awful and he is right to speak up, because a lot of people are unaware of how many mistakes are made in hospitals.
    Not sure he is made for the role of dad though, sorry. He seems to have a lot of issues.

  24. Sharrie says

    Good for Dennis and his wife for making the health awareness public.! I have always liked Dennis Quaid and thought it unfortunate that he and Meg Ryan divorced. I’m glad he is a dad again, he seems made for the role. Best of luck to the Quaid family.

  25. 2teens says

    The whole story was just horrific and they are so lucky that it ended the way it did – with two living children. Three other families lost their infants due to the same drug mix-up. Baxter Healthcare was well aware of the packaging problem before the Quaid twins incident. I would go after them with a vengenace if it was me. They are suing the correct party IMO.
    Liza, I do agree that doctors and nurses are human and will make mistakes… but I also think that they DO need to be held to a higher standard than the average employee who might make a mistake on the job. Their mistakes could cost a human life after all. But in this case, I think it’s ok that the Quaids aren’t suing the hospital because the kids have no lasting disabilities from the accident. If the children had needed long-term care due to the staff error then I think a lawsuit against Cedars-Sinai would have been in order.

  26. Butterfly says

    So happy the children are okay. My daughter had a stroke as an infant due to unknown etiology–but I will always believe that the hospital messed up in some way. No sense blaming the hospital–it is the policies that need to be examined. Medical staff do the best that they can with the knowledge that they have. Mistakes do happen and the medical team is a not a team of Gods. We are so quick to thank doctors and nurses for saving lives–but we need to support them when things go wrong and collaboratively work to solve the existing problems. In this case, current policies and practices. Dennis Quaid and his family are terrific examples.

    On a side note, this picture is a little creepy–the cropping is a little spooky with unknown fingers protruding from Dennis’ neck.

  27. Liza says

    I can certainly understand raising awareness of negligence in hospitals, and of trying to push hospitals to make sure staff check and double check things. But negliegence is different from human error.

    But, doctors and nurses are human, they do make mistakes. It is inevitable. We have placed doctors and nurses on this pedestal where they are supposed to be perfect and absent of any flaws, when that isn’t the case. Who hasn’t made a mistake in the act of executing their job, regardless of what it is or how important of a job it is? It is because of people, American’s especially, believing that doctors should never make mistakes that we have so many lawsuits directed at doctors.

  28. squeeky sue says

    I can’t understand how he is not angry at Ceders, I would of been out for Ceders blood as well as the drug companys.

  29. Dobe says

    Awww Anti… its a sad story. Im sure anyone, celebrity or not, would do the same and raise awareness…

    Good for Dennis!!

  30. ANTI says

    “That’s awesome that he is working to make something positive come from this – by trying to raise awareness and help others. Good for him.”

    Yeah, it’s been really good for him. A People cover, public speaking gig, setting up a foundation – WOW.

    I guess since the career is over, work it any way you can Dennis.

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