Sharing ideas on Risk, Human Performance, Teams and Leaders

Dennis Quaid

Why my twins were given a massive heparin overdose

Dennis Quaid, the award winning actor, became involved in patient safety issues when his new born twins were accidentally given heparin overdoses in 2007. He blamed the packaging of the drug for the mishap, with10,000 unit and 10 unit heparin vials looking so similar that nurses confused them. Although the twins appeared to suffer no long term ill effects, Quaid filed a lawsuit against the drug manufacturer. In May 2008, the Quaids testified before the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, asking U.S. Congress not to preempt the right to sue drug manufacturers for negligence under state law. Quaid also works with the charity, International Hospital for Children in New Orleans. He makes trips to Central America to help build medical clinics and transport sick children back to the U.S. for treatment they cannot get locally.

Most patient harm is preventable by modifying culture and the systems we work with.