Quaid sues drug maker over blood thinner


Dennis Quaid and his wife sued the makers of heparin Tuesday after their twin newborns were inadvertently given massive doses of the blood thinner at a hospital.

The product liability lawsuit, filed in Chicago, seeks more than $50,000 in damages. It claims that Baxter Healthcare Corp., based in Deerfield, Ill., was negligent in packaging different doses of the product in similar vials with blue backgrounds. The suit also says the company should have recalled the large-dosage vials after overdoses killed three children at an Indianapolis hospital last year.

The lawsuit was first reported by CelebTV.com, which obtained the court documents.

A call to Baxter Healthcare Corp. seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Quaid's children, Thomas Boone and Zoe Grace, and a third patient were at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Nov. 18 when they were mistakenly given vials of heparin that were 1,000 times stronger than the usual dosage.

The twins were home Tuesday and "appear to be doing well," said Susan E. Loggans, the Chicago attorney who filed the lawsuit. "The Quads are a religious family and they really believe the prayers of the public saved their kids."

"Apparently, they're going to be fine now," she said but declined to otherwise comment on the childrens' medical conditions.

"The point of this case is to save other children from this fate. They're not looking for money," Loggans said of the suit.

The Quaids did not sue Cedars-Sinai, which acknowledged after the news broke that a "preventable error" had resulted in three patients receiving vials containing 10,000 units per milliliter of heparin instead of vials with a concentration of 10 units per milliliter.

The patients were receiving intravenous medications and the heparin was used to flush the catheters to prevent clotting.

Two of the patients needed a drug that reverses the effects of heparin, the hospital said at the time.

The highly regarded hospital issued an apology to the patients' families and said it would take "all steps" to prevent a recurrence.

The heparin was "unreasonably dangerous" as it was packaged and sold because both the small and large dosage vials had labels with blue backgrounds when the vials "should have been completely distinguishable size and shape," the suit argued.

A similar dosage error killed three premature infants at an Indian hospital last year. Three others survived overdoses.

In February, Baxter Healthcare Corp. sent a letter warning health care workers to carefully read labels on the heparin packages to avoid a mix-up.

But the lawsuit by Quaid and his wife, Kimberly, argues that the company didn't do enough.

The company failed to recall the large-dosage vials after the infant deaths and repackage the drug, the suit contended.

It said the manufacturer also should have issued an "urgent" warning to healthcare providers that required them to educate nurses and others about the problems and implement safety procedures.