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Dennis Quaid: My Twins' Nightmare

Dennis Quaid: My Twins' Nightmare

Dennis Quaid and his wife Kimberly have spoken out for the first time since their newborn twins were hospitalized following an accidental overdose.

Quaid, 53, told the Los Angeles Times about their ordeal at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where their newborn twins Zoe and Boone were given an overdose of the blood thinner heparin in November.

Dennis on the hospital keeping them in the dark for hours about the potentially fatal medication error: “Our kids could have been dying, and we wouldn’t have been able to come down to the hospital to say goodbye.”

Kimberly on watching in terror as doctors and nurses hovered over their critically ill children: “They were in incubators with cords attached to them and monitors, and you could barely hold them. Every time you’d move them, the alarms would sound. . . . The stress was overwhelming.”

Dennis on the twins appearing to make a full recovery: “We have our babies back, and they seem to be doing great, and they’re just a lot of fun to be with. We really do feel that prayer saved them.”

Dennis on why they plan to start a foundation to promote patient safety: “When you go into a hospital, you become like a child, like an infant in a way. The names of the drugs, we can’t even pronounce. . . . We put complete trust, and we are so vulnerable like a child, innocent and vulnerable in a hospital situation.”

Read the full interview at LATimes.com.

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10 Comments

# 1
Maria (Shorty) @ 01/15/2008 at 9:42 am

So glad the babies are doing well. The hell Dennis and his wife must have gone through.

# 2

The person administering the drug must have been a new grad or someone not familiar with pediatrics.. Sometimes the medication comes from the pharmacy prepackaged and it is up to the nurse to calculate the correct dosage. You are taught this in nursing school. There are 5 Rights of administering medication..
!. Right Patient
2. Right Drug
3. Right Route
4. Right Time
5.Right Dosage
If these steps are followed, medication errors are greatly reduced. Nursing is very demanding and the nurse must be alert at alll times. There is no room for errors.. I hope and pray the nurses aren’t overworked. I thank God that these precious children survived.

# 3

the idiot administering the drug needs to be sacked for this mistake.

# 4
Maria (Shorty) @ 01/15/2008 at 12:06 pm

Didi. Could not agree with you more!

# 5

They were given a adult version of the med in the IV to clear it – 1,000 times stronger than the infant version — the packaging was almost identical and they were on the same shelves. Not the first time this has happened and children have died – hopefully this will not stop and the blood thinner used will be packaged better and clearer.

# 6

THATS CRAZY I WOULD BE MAD IF SOMEONE DID THAT TO MY KIDS

http://WWW.VEECE.COM

# 7

you’re kids were in the hospital and weren’t already there?

# 8

I want to know about the foundation. I need it right now. My sister’s been in the hospital for most of the past 2 years and I’m the advocate. I’m fairly intelligent, am basically getting a medical degree in the halls, have lost my job because I can’t leave her to their mercy, yet I still can’t catch all of the mistakes, correct them, or get someone to act upon some important need or another fast enough. This isn’t about doctors, nurses, or drug manufacturers. This is about corporations and how the big clumsy corporate machines cannot do anything well because the structure is so cumbersome. I’m sure the administration makes rules and rules and rules that no one has time to read much less follow and common sense flies out the window. The employees become zombies with a ‘cya’ mentality, incapable of recognizing a problem much less taking ownership and the initiative to solve it.

Medicine has become so specialized that a problem can always be someone else’s department. By the time I go from person to person to find the one responsible, it’s past 5:00 p.m. and everyone who is responsible for something is gone for the day and I’m left with the night crew who can’t do anything but wait for the day crew. I finally learned to see the problems on the horizon and have gotten to the point where I can accurately predict how the scenario will play out yet I still find it difficult to change the outcome. That’s why I’ve dubbed them zombies. Now, when I realize that I’m speaking with a zombie, I give up much sooner and move on. What’s the point?

I’m living some bizarre life and death version of Office Space in supposedly one of the best hospitals in Atlanta. They are a Magnet hospital and have all sorts of other accredidations that other hospitals don’t have yet I have dozens of stories – I can hardly get through one day without one – some humorous in a sick sort of way and some downright deadly. The other two hospitals she’s been in made some pretty serious mistakes too so it’s not just this hospital. Even the ‘good’ staff are blase about major incidents, no one gets excited unless it’s about some trivial matter that would make no difference one way or the other.

I am hoping Quaid can use his celebrity status to call attention to what seems to be a problem of epidemic proportions. I truly do not know what to do. I can’t just complain about a few people, or a department – this problem is much more pervasive than that. I am too stressed and don’t have time to be their Quality Control Dept, nor to sort out whether or not a problem is caused by the doctor, the hospital, or the guidelines they follow. And, it doesn’t do me or my sister any good to complain about an issue, have administration blame the nurse or the aide, with everyone apologizing profusely, when the only real action that will be taken is that a band-aid will be slapped on the problem only to fall off a day or so later. And, we’re right back where we started, with our relationship with the staff strained, and administration making idiotic statements like ‘things like that don’t happen in this hospital’.

Yes they do and I don’t have the solution. I think they need some workable version of a ‘secret shopper’ so they can see what it’s really like to be a patient or family member at one of these great hospitals they are so proud of.

One of our latest went something like this. Let’s see, yes, you’re bleeding a lot and your hemaglobin has dropped to 7.7 so the on call Dr. wants to do nothing although we all know that your regular Dr. will give you the 2 units of blood you need tommorrow. And, here’s your Coumadin (blood thinner). Tonight they’ve upped your dose from 5 to 7 1/2 because the lab reports showed your therapeutic levels weren’t high enough. Did you want to refuse this medication so that you won’t bleed to death? Good choice because I don’t feel comfortable killing you with Coumadin therapy tonight.

I didn’t change any of the coversation, I just removed the polite filler and condensed it down to the ridiculous exchange that it truly was.

# 9
heather thomas @ 03/17/2008 at 10:51 am

I am part of the nightmare that the Quaid family almost lived. I lost my son Elliott 6 months ago. He was a beautiful healthy baby boy and was born with no complications at all. He was born july 10th 2007 and he passed on september 21st 2007. he was 2 months and 11 days old.

I and the rest of my family had all gotten a 24 hour stomach bug when one of us would get over it the other would start to get it so it took about a week to run through the house and I was the last to get it. The night that I was starting to get over it Elliott started to throw up and he was abvously getting the bug which was just going to have to run its course. so my husband and i settles in for a long night with the baby. We watched him closely and tried our best to keep him hydrated and happy til the morning when I would take him to the doctor. By the morning he hadnt kept much down and hadnt peed much either so I took him to the walk in hour instead of waiting for an appt. When we got there we found out that our regular physician was on vacation. So we got someone we had never seen before. She came in and I told her that it had been 12 hours and that I was worried that he was dehydrated. She said that he would be fine and to just take him home and against my better judgement I did so. She also told me that my regular dr would be back on thur so I tried to keep him sustained until then. When thursday came I took him back to the drs and they wasted no time admitting him for imediate rehydration and to find out why the ilness lasted so long and what it was. My regular dr was shocked that we were turned away on tuesday and she also knew that I was a pro at this stuff already having 3 kids. We got to the hospital and the nightmare started they poked my son 21 times in various places to try getting an iv that was how dehydrated he was they also had various people trying to get it even a NICU nurse. They were finally able to get it but it was to late he already looked white as a sheet and the staff was unable to get a blood pressure. as the night progressed Elliott spent the whole night crying and it was abvious that he was in destress. but as usual crying goes unnoticed cause they think its a baby being a baby. Friday morning came and the on call dr decided that we could go home cause Elliott had smile and seemed to be in good spirits. So we took him home and we kept him close. At about 7 or 8 Elliottt started to make strange sounds and we rushed him to the hospital. As I ran through those doors with my son in my arms I felt him pass. He was gone and they were unable to get him back after over an hour of working on him. They couldnt even get an Iv started on him. When they took his iv out friday morning they took it his life line and he should have never been sent home. My son died and the coroner came back with some bogus rason of why he died and the police that came to my home the night my son died to take photo’s and evidence dropped the ball too. Nothing from my home was passed on to the medicla examiner and we were of course questioned and treated like criminals.

Still today I am not sure why my son died and I will not rest until I find out. All I know is the private coroner I hired says there is no way that my son died the way the death certificate stated. It is a case of the county protecting the hospital, drs, and nursing who pay them big payments to keep their mouths shut and their eyes closed. I hope that the Quaid family sees my story and sees that It does happen all the time and people go unpunished for their crimes. I should not be here and my son should be alive. I will fight till the day I die to make sure that I know why my son died and that hte people who are responsible pay for the life they took from me. I want to change health care and I want drs to have to take the time to really diagnose instead of hurry on to the next patient. I cant beleive what the world has come that a childs life has no worth as the long as the drs fat pockets are getting fatter. I hope that my story can be an eye opener to the medical field.

PLEASE PASS MY STORY ON SO THAT THE WORLD CAN SEE THE TRUTH AND SEE THAT I AM AN ORDINaRY HOUSE WIFE WHOSE FAMILY SUFFERED A LOSS THAT HAS CHANGED US ALL FOREVER!

I stood next to him in a hotel lobby in San Antone while wrangling cable for DH, who was doing sound for the Alamo movie premiere red carpet thingy. (Yes, I work for free. Sometimes.) I think DQ was already kind of loaded, but whew, he is one tasty man. DH says I looked like I had rictus from grinning so much. Jealous….

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