Published March 21, 2008
LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles hospital was fined $25,000 by state health regulators for giving overdoses of a blood thinner to three infants including the newborn twins of Dennis Quaid.
The California Department of Public Health cited Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and 10 other hospitals Thursday for violations that caused or were "likely to cause, serious injury or death to patients."
Cedars spokesman Richard Elbaum said the hospital has cooperated with state investigators and intends to pay the fine.
The fine against Cedars-Sinai comes two months after the state issued a 20-page report blaming the hospital for giving Quaid's premature twins and another unidentified baby 1,000 times the intended dosage of heparin in November. All three children recovered, but two needed a drug that reverses the effects of heparin.
The hospital has since apologized to the patients' families and said it has taken steps to provide more training to staff and review all policies and procedures involving high-risk medications.
The preventable error occurred because a pharmacy technician stored the higher heparin doses in the wrong place and a nurse who administered the drug to the babies failed to verify the amount.
After the mix-up, Quaid and his wife, Kimberly, sued heparin maker Baxter Healthcare Corp., accusing the company of negligence in packaging different doses of the product in similar vials with blue backgrounds.