Quaid sues over twins accidental overdose

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Dennis Quaid and his wife filed a negligence lawsuit on Tuesday against the makers of a blood thinner given to his newborn twins in an accidental massive overdose last month.

Slideshow ( 2 images )

The suit accuses Baxter Healthcare Corp. of Illinois of failing to put clear distinguishing labels on its 10-unit and 10,000-unit vials of Heparin, and failing to recall the product after three other infants died because of a mix-up. The Quaids seek at least $50,000 in damages.

The company could not immediately be reached for comment.

Quaid’s 2-week-old twins, Thomas Boone and Zoe Grace, were mistakenly given 10,000 units of Heparin instead of the normal 10 units given to babies while they were patients at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in November.

Cedars-Sinai apologized at the time for what it called preventable human error. Media reports said the Heparin, which is used to clean IV tubes and prevent blood clots, had been stored in the wrong place at the hospital.

Quaid, star of films that include “The Parent Trap” and “The Rookie,” and his wife, Kimberley Buffington, had the twins via a surrogate carrier. Their lawyer Susan Loggans said the babies were now back home and “doing fantastic.”

“The last thing the Quaids want to do is to file a lawsuit but the objective is to prevent this happening to someone else,” Loggans said.

The lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court, Illinois, said both the small and large doses of Heparin had similar blue background labels. It also accused Baxter Healthcare of failing to recall or repackage the 10,000 unit vials “when it had actual knowledge that prior infant deaths had occurred as a result of medication errors.”

Attached to the lawsuit is a memo from Baxter to healthcare providers dated February 2007 in which the company says three infants died when the higher doses were mistakenly given to them.

Loggans said Quaid had not yet decided whether to sue Cedars-Sinai, one of the leading hospitals in the United States, over the mix-up.

“Cedars-Sinai has already apologized and we are waiting to see what they do to respond,” Loggans said.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant, editing by Eric Walsh