Dennis Quaid describes twins scare to "60 Minutes"

March 14, 2008 6:11:36 PM PDT
Dennis Quaid describes a harrowing scene with "blood everywhere" as doctors and nurses worked to save his newborn twins after they were given an overdose of a blood thinner. "They were working on (my son) Boone whose belly button would not stop bleeding, and while they were trying to ... clamp it, blood squirted across the room about six feet and landed on the wall. It was blood everywhere," the actor recalls to CBS' "60 Minutes."

The twin boy and girl born to Quaid and wife Kimberly by a surrogate mother were mistakenly given an overdose of heparin, a blood thinner, administered at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles last November.

"We all have this inherent thing that we trust doctors and nurses that they know what they're doing," Quaid says in his first at-length TV interview about the ordeal. "But this mistake occurred right under our noses, that the nurse didn't bother to look at the dosage on the bottle."

Quaid, 53, said the twins' blood turned "the consistency of water, where they had a complete inability to clot. And they were basically bleeding out at that point."

Quaid says he and his wife weren't notified that anything was wrong until they arrived at the hospital. The Quaids say they blame the error on the similarity between vials of heparin and a significantly weaker version of the drug.

In December, they sued Baxter Healthcare Corp., based in Deerfield, Ill., saying the drug maker was negligent in packaging different doses of the product in similar vials with blue backgrounds.

A similar incident in Indiana (resulting in the deaths of three infants) moved Baxter to redesign packaging and issue a warning to hospitals.

"They recall dog food that came from China last year," Quaid says. "But they don't recall medicine that kills people if you give it in the wrong dosage. ... We think it's wrong."

In an interview with "60 Minutes," Baxter executive Debra Bello explains that "the product was safe and effective, and the errors, as the hospital has acknowledged, were preventable and due to failures in their system."