With more recent horrifying headlines about heparin drug errors harming children — and even tragically taking the lives of two babies at a Texas hospital — WebMD recently sat down with Dennis and Kimberly Quaid.
How are their 10-month-old twins, Thomas Boone and Zoë Grace, doing today, now that almost a year has passed since the 11-day-olds were twice given a potentially lethal dose of the blood thinner? What worries the actor and his wife most about their future health? And what successes and challenges have the Quaids encountered in their high-profile national crusade to prevent the surprisingly common problem of medical errors every day in hospitals — so that other parents don’t have to go through the nightmare they faced last November?
Superior vena cava syndrome in a child is a serious medical emergency because the child's windpipe can become blocked.
Superior vena cava syndrome (SVCS) in children can be life-threatening. This is because the trachea (windpipe) can quickly become blocked. In adults, the windpipe is fairly stiff, but in children, it is softer and can more easily be squeezed shut. Also, a child's windpipe is narrower, so any amount of swelling can cause breathing problems. Squeezing of the trachea is called superior...
WebMD was invited by Dennis, 54, and Kimberly, 36, to their sunny, art-filled home in Los Angeles, just off busy Sunset Boulevard. Dennis is a veteran of more than 50 movies -- highlights include The Big Easy, Breaking Away, Great Balls of Fire!, and the recent Vantage Point. He has a role in this fall’s The Express, releasing Oct. 3. Quaid plays the coach of college football great Ernie Davis, who was the first black winner of the prestigious Heisman Trophy but was diagnosed with leukemia before he had a chance to play in the pros.
But he is, at this moment at least, clearly off duty, enjoying his real-life role as doting dad. Dennis hoists his chubby-cheeked T. Boone into the air and the infant lets out a whoop of joy.
Nearby, on the sofa, Zoë sits on her mother’s lap, her eyes as summer-sky blue as her brother’s. Kimberly Quaid, 36, a slender cool-blond with kind eyes, proudly reports that Zoë’s already a girly girl, even at eight months. The contrast between this happy, lazy summer Monday afternoon and the frightening, sleepless weeks the Quaids endured after the babies were born in November 2007 is like day and night.
Q: How are the twins doing today?
Both T. Boone and Zoë have met all their developmental milestones, the Quaids say. That's a relief for any parent, but particularly after the overdose catastrophe.
Watching them, though, both Dennis and Kimberly admit to a nagging worry that any parent would share: Are the kids really OK? “No one knows the long-term effect of the dose they received,” Dennis notes grimly. The twins got roughly 1,000 times the recommended dose of heparin when they were hospitalized for staph infections last November at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
"There's a real problem going on and it needs to be addressed," says Quaid. After their experience with the twins, and their research on statistics, they know medical mistakes are a scary, all-too-frequent occurrence.