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Dennis Quaid Recounts How Hospital Error Nearly Killed His Twins (Video)

Dennis Quaid and wife Kimberly spoke to '60 Minutes' on Sunday night and recounted how a hospital error nearly killed their newborn twins after they were given an accidental drug overdose.

"It was the scariest, most frightening day that I think either of us have ever been through, to come face to face with your little kids who - so young in that kinda situation," Quaid said. The couple had suffered through five miscarriages, before finally turning to a surrogate to carry, what turned out to be twins, conceived with the Quaids' own sperm and eggs.

In the Quaids' case, staff at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center near Beverly Hills were supposed to have been given a pediatric blood thinner called Hep-lock to flush out their IV lines and prevent blood clots. But instead, they were given two doses of Heparin, the adult version of the drug, which is 1,000 times stronger.

"We all have this inherent thing that we trust doctors and nurses, that they know what they're doing. But this mistake occurred right under our noses, that the nurse didn't bother to look at the dosage on the bottle. It was ten units that our kids are supposed to get. They got 10,000. And what it did is, it basically turned their blood to the consistency of water, where they had a complete inability to clot. And they were basically bleeding out at that point."

Their twins were bruised and bleeding from puncture wounds, where blood had been drawn or where they had received injections: "There was blood oozing out of little blood draws on their feet, and things like that, you know, through band-aids... They were working on Boone, whose belly button would not stop bleeding. And while they were trying to clamp it, blood squirted across the room. It was blood everywhere."

"These mistakes that occurred to us are not unique. And they're not unique even to Cedars. They happen in every hospital, in every state in this country. And 100,000 people, that I've come to find out, there's 100,000 people a year are killed every year in hospitals by a medical mistakes," Quaid said.

"It's bigger than AIDS. It's bigger than breast cancer. It's bigger than automobile accidents. And, yet, no one seems to be really be aware of the problem."

Fortunately, the twins are now doing fine with no apparent ill effects, but the error could have been fatal.

You can view a segment from the interview below:

March 17, 2008 |

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