Crime & Justice

Health care provider responds to lawsuit by Dennis Quaid

A representative for a health care provider today responded to a lawsuit by Dennis Quaid concerning medication erroneously given his newborn twins in 2007 by saying the dispute should be settled outside the courtroom.

"We believe both Baxter and the Quaids have a common interest in reducing medication errors," Baxter Healthcare Corp. spokeswoman Erin M. Gardiner said. "We feel that working together to address this issue would be more productive than continuing to litigate this matter in the courts."

A similar lawsuit filed by Quaid and his wife, Kimberly Quaid, against Baxter in 2007 in Illinois was thrown out and that state's Supreme Court upheld the dismissal, Gardiner said. Baxter Healthcare is based in Deerfield, Ill.

In the current suit, Quaid says similar labels for the blood thinner Heparin and a less potent drug caused a mix-up at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center that threatened the lives of his children.

Quaid filed the case Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of his children against Baxter Healthcare. The suit seeks unspecified damages.

Both Heparin and the lower dose version, Hep-lock, are packaged in similar vials with blue backgrounds and very small print on both labels, according to the complaint.

Quaid's twins, who were born in November 2007, were both administered multiple near-fatal doses of Heparin to treat staph infections, according to the lawsuit.

The children, Zoe Grace and Thomas Boone, were given 10,000 units of Heparin, rather than the 10 units of Hep-Lock they were prescribed, according to the complaint.

Baxter Healthcare should have recalled the vials of Heparin containing 10,000 units because the company knew infants had died because of similar medication errors, according to the lawsuit.

The company also was obligated to warn healthcare providers of the previous medication mistakes, the suit states.

The children suffered internal injuries and shock, but the extent of what happened to them will probably not be known for years, according to the suit.

Newborns and infants are often given Hep-Lock to prevent clotting, because intravenous lines in infants are so small.