Quaid's twins hospitalized after overdose


State health officials were investigating an accident at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in which patients, including the newborn twins of actor Dennis Quaid were given 1,000 times the common dosage of a blood thinner.

While the hospital declined to release the identities of the three patients, Quaid's representatives said two of the patients were the actor's children, Thomas Boone and Zoe Grace.

The hospital declined to release their conditions Wednesday, citing privacy laws.

TMZ.com, which first reported the overdoses on Tuesday, said the children were in stable condition in the neonatal intensive care unit. It cited a "a well-placed source at Cedars" as saying it will be a week before it can be determined if the accident will cause "long-term effects."

A Cedars-Sinai official said Tuesday that tests indicated that there were no adverse effects on the patients but apologized to their families.

"Dennis and Kimberly appreciate everyone's thoughts and prayers and hope they can maintain their privacy during this difficult time," Quaid's publicist, Cara Tripicchio, said in a statement Tuesday.

Suanne Buggy, a state Department of Public Health spokeswoman, said the agency is investigating reports of an incident involving newborn twins at the hospital. She did not elaborate.

Cedars-Sinai's chief medical officer, Michael L. Langberg, said in a statement that three patients on Sunday each received vials containing 10,000 units per milliliter of heparin, a blood thinner, 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.

Once the hospital staff realized the "preventable error," they did tests to measure the patients' blood clotting function, Langberg said. One patient's test was normal, but the other two were given another drug, protamine sulfate, that reverses the effects of heparin. Experts said protamine sulfate is generally effective in restoring normal clotting function.

Further tests on the two "indicated no adverse effects from the higher concentration of heparin," Langberg said. "Doctors continue to monitor the patients."

"I want to extend my deepest apologies to the families who were affected by this situation," Langberg said.

Steven Kayser, professor of clinical pharmacy at the University of California, San Francisco, said heparin comes in different concentrations and giving a little too much can be disastrous.

"Heparin is a good drug, but you have to pay very careful attention because of the varying concentrations," he said.

Last year, three premature infants at an Indiana hospital died after a pharmacy technician mistakenly stocked the medicine cabinet with heparin vials containing a dose 1,000 times stronger than what the babies were supposed to receive. Three others also suffered overdoses but survived.

Quaid and his wife are the biological parents of the twins, who were born Nov. 8 to a surrogate mother.

"God has definitely blessed us," the couple said in a statement announcing their birth.

Quaid, 53, has a 15-year-old son, Jack Henry Quaid, from his marriage to Meg Ryan.

His screen credits include "Great Balls of Fire!" "Any Given Sunday" "The Big Easy" and "Far From Heaven."