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Dennis Quaid takes on hospital errors

Oie_800px_dennis_quaid_dn_sc_04_1_2Hospital patient safety has a new celebrity advocate in Dennis Quaid, whose twin newborns received a massive overdose of a blood thinner last year at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center while being treated for infections.

While his twins bled profusely, Quaid and his wife, Kimberly, were met by a hospital risk management team, who instead of offering an apology and explanation, provided half-truths and excuses, Quaid told hundreds of journalists Thursday at the annual Association of Healthcare Journalists Conference in Washington D.C.

The Quaids’ experience has been widely covered in the press, and he and his wife recently started The Quaid Foundation to shine a spotlight on the 100,000 people who the Institute of Medicine estimates die annually from preventable hospital errors.

"Unfortunately this tragic secret in the medical industry will continue until the medical community overwhelms a conspiracy of silence and demands public accountability,” Quaid said. "I do realize that because I’m a known person, we have an opportunity to get the word out."

Quaid said he would testify about patient safety at Congressional hearings, and he has filed a lawsuit against Baxter International, Inc., which manufactures Heparin, the blood thinning drug that a nurse gave his twins at 1,000 times their prescribed dose. Baxter failed to recall its Heparin medications after a similar error killed babies in Indiana.

Quaid has not yet sued Cedars-Sinai, which, he said, also violated his family’s privacy. The California State Health Department has fined Cedars-Sinai $25,000 for putting patients in grave danger. As for the hospital bill, Cedars-Sinai told the Quaids not to worry about it.

Quaid said he applauds the hard work of individual health care professionals, but said the medical system is inexcusably broken. As a pilot, he offered up the airline industry as one the medical system can learn from, using the oft-quoted analogy that the number of people who die from preventable medical mistakes would be "equivalent to one commercial airline crash every day of every year."

Airplane crashes are dramatic, and thus attract public attention, which then demands accountability. Unfortunately, most patients who die unnecessarily in hospitals from medical errors, do so silently with only their family and friends as witnesses, he said. He plans to end the silence.

“Public accountability spurs innovation,” Quaid said.

SEE ALSO: "Dennis Quaid’s Kids: Are VIPs safer?" by Bob Wachter.

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JulieMSbrenerinM.M. Recent comment authors
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Julie
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My goal is to also create awareness of the same issues locally with my website. I sat and slept in the chair (for lack of a closer watchful resting place) next to my little blond haired, blue eyed joy for more than a month and a half watching closely while she suffered and was tortured with negligence and pure unreasonable stupidity. My 9yr old daughter had a reaction to Propofol during successful surgery and was released against my wishes post 4 days. The anesthesiologist tells me 11 days after surgery, and a week after release and immediate readmission that she… Read more »

MS
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MS

Hi Dennis and Kimberly, Had an incident about four years ago at the VA hospital in Westwood. I have chronic pains in my leg since I was 19. At 45 I seldom take medication for it since the pain returns after the medicines wear off. I limped into the VA hospital one morning, was told by a Nurse Pratitioner that it was my lumbar nerves, and she proceded to get technical with me, and handed me Valium and Codiene, and later in the conversation she explained that the appendix is on the left side of the human body. Later on,… Read more »

bren
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bren

how do i get an email to m.m. re her nursing experience with the new grad nurse possible???? bren

bren
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bren

theres still alot of cover up-2 nurses were acquitted of all charges for incident with a quad plegic pt in upstate ny-there is so much of this going on today-we can only hope they really were innocent of all charges- some felt the pt signed a paper stating they werent to blame and yet have all the facts-many facilities want to settle out of court also-what i am afraid of is all the high tech machines such as pumps used in pts room and many older nurses are leaving the field-because they do more equipment and paper work thne bed… Read more »

bren
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bren

god bless you all for breaking the silence- my father had open heart surgery several yrs ago at a top az hospital and great staff except for 2 grad nurses that were nasty and no communication skills with family members- we ended up reporting both to dir of nursing and she ordered them to stay away from my father when we were there- they made inappropriate comments about my family also-against my better judgement i let my sister and mother handle the director of nursing-they teach them no communication skills or bed side manners- along with the fact that my… Read more »

erin
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erin

At least Dennis Quaid is trying to do something…My amazing 39 year old handsome gentleman firefighter brother died in a supposedly very “top” NY City hospital due to hospital error in April of 2007. The NY State department of health found he could of been saved several times…but the hospital was not doing their job.(the attending doctor did not even know he was on call…and never showed up!!) A lesson to all: do not leave your loved ones in a hospital alone and do not think that the hospital staff can be trusted..if you feel you are not getting proper… Read more »

M.M.
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M.M.

Quaid Foundation 335 North Maple Dr. Suite #351 Beverly Hills, Ca. 90210 Dear Dennis and Kimberly, Breaking the “Conspiracy of Silence” has caused me incomprehensible retaliation for the last 3 years. As a Registered Nurse of 13 years, I reported a medical error, an Intravenous Infusion of a cardiac medication, made by a “New Grad” nurse that was causing the patient’s heart to stop repeatedly. This was considered “interfering” with another nurse’s patient. Since that time the Hospital retaliated and reported me to the Nursing Boards to have my Nursing License revoked after I had saved the patient’s life from… Read more »

Valerie Cox
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Valerie Cox

Excerpts from registered letters sent to Ronald Reagan Medical Center at UCLA to the CEO and Director of Patient Services — no response from either of them. I discovered my mother unconscious when I went to visit her — she was taken by paramedics to UCLA ER although I reqested she go to Cedars where her primary physician is. Against my mother’s wishes, expresssed in her living will which I provided, and my wishes, she was poked and prodded and hurt unnecesssarily. The emergency room was bedlam. They carelessly inserted a catheter and hurt her in doing so so that… Read more »

Joel Reid
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Joel Reid

I’ve had six back operations as well as numerous other hospital stays from a car accident when some knucklehead ran a red light and I hit her broadside! I have seen things that could fill a large book. Not to mention the things they did to me. Doctors are human. BUT, they get paid WELL, to not make any mistakes! Nurses on the other hand, have more responsibilities then any doctor. Get paid lousy. And are usually over worked with extra patients. I have personally stopped breathing TWICE in two different hospitals. Because of, let’s call it Bad Medicine! I… Read more »

Patricia A. McAloon
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Patricia A. McAloon

Four years ago I had double knee replacement surgery.
When I was in rehab a nurse tried to give me another patients medication. Thank God, we were in the rehab room because the head nurse saw what was going on. I was litterally hollering that it was not my medication.
The head nurse came over and said to the wacko nurse”That is Joe’s medicine not Pat’s.”
I am scared to death of hospitals.
Pat McAloon

Susan E. Loggans & Associates, P.C.
Guest

Susan E. Loggans & Associates represents the Quaids in their lawsuit against Baxter Healthcare Corporation. As the attorneys for the Quaids, we applaud them for their efforts in speaking out about pharmaceutical safety, defective products, medication errors, and for Mr. Quaid’s recent testimony before Congress in opposition to federal preemption of state product liability lawsuits relating to FDA-approved drugs. Furthermore, we commend the Quaids for bringing attention to innovations that may help to improve patient safety and to causes that help preserve peoples’ rights to sue pharmaceutical companies for their injuries. At Susan E. Loggans & Associates we believe that… Read more »

Susan E. Loggans & Associates, P.C.
Guest

Susan E. Loggans & Associates represents the Quaids in their lawsuit against Baxter Healthcare Corporation. As the attorneys for the Quaids, we applaud them for their efforts in speaking out about pharmaceutical safety, defective products, medication errors, and for Mr. Quaid’s recent testimony before Congress in opposition to federal preemption of state product liability lawsuits relating to FDA-approved drugs. Furthermore, we commend the Quaids for bringing attention to innovations that may help to improve patient safety and to causes that help preserve peoples’ rights to sue pharmaceutical companies for their injuries. At Susan E. Loggans & Associates we believe that… Read more »

Susan E. Loggans & Associates, P.C.
Guest

Susan E. Loggans & Associates represents the Quaids in their lawsuit against Baxter Healthcare Corporation. As the attorneys for the Quaids, we applaud them for their efforts in speaking out about pharmaceutical safety, defective products, medication errors, and for Mr. Quaid’s recent testimony before Congress in opposition to federal preemption of state product liability lawsuits relating to FDA-approved drugs. Furthermore, we commend the Quaids for bringing attention to innovations that may help to improve patient safety and to causes that help preserve peoples’ rights to sue pharmaceutical companies for their injuries. At Susan E. Loggans & Associates we believe that… Read more »

Susan E. Loggans & Associates, P.C.
Guest

Susan E. Loggans & Associates represents the Quaids in their lawsuit against Baxter Healthcare Corporation. As the attorneys for the Quaids, we applaud them for their efforts in speaking out about pharmaceutical safety, defective products, medication errors, and for Mr. Quaid’s recent testimony before Congress in opposition to federal preemption of state product liability lawsuits relating to FDA-approved drugs. Furthermore, we commend the Quaids for bringing attention to innovations that may help to improve patient safety and to causes that help preserve peoples’ rights to sue pharmaceutical companies for their injuries. At Susan E. Loggans & Associates we believe that… Read more »

Susan E. Loggans & Associates, P.C.
Guest

Susan E. Loggans & Associates represents the Quaids in their lawsuit against Baxter Healthcare Corporation. As the attorneys for the Quaids, we applaud them for their efforts in speaking out about pharmaceutical safety, defective products, medication errors, and for Mr. Quaid’s recent testimony before Congress in opposition to federal preemption of state product liability lawsuits relating to FDA-approved drugs. Furthermore, we commend the Quaids for bringing attention to innovations that may help to improve patient safety and to causes that help preserve peoples’ rights to sue pharmaceutical companies for their injuries. At Susan E. Loggans & Associates we believe that… Read more »