Actor's newborn twins given overdose of blood thinner

November 27, 2007

State, county investigating error that led to high dose of heparin

The California Department of Public Health is investigating a medication error involving the newborn twins of actor Dennis Quaid. The babies, born Nov. 8, were given vials of heparin at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles that were 1,000 times stronger than what had been prescribed. On Nov. 18, Quaid's twins were among three patients who received vials containing 10,000 units per milliliter of heparin instead of vials that had a concentration of 10 units per milliliter, the hospital's Chief Medical Officer Michael L. Langberg said. When the hospital's staff realized the "preventable error," Langberg explained, they tested the patients' blood-clotting function. Two patients required protamine sulfate, a drug that reverses the effects of heparin and restores normal blood-clotting function. "This was a preventable error, involving a failure to follow our standard policies and procedures, and there is no excuse for that to occur at Cedars-Sinai," Langberg said. The hospital and Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, he added, are investigating the incident. News reports indicated that Quaid's twins, born to a surrogate mother, did not suffer any adverse effects from the overdose.

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