Celebrity Patient Advocates

Quaid Professes He'd "Never Allow A Loved One in A Hospital Alone"

“In my line of work if I make a mistake, we have take two,” actor Dennis Quaid told reporters at the annual meeting of the Association of Health Care Journalists. “If you’re a healthcare professional and make a mistake you could kill somebody.”(full WSJ article here)

As we posted on last month, five months ago, Dennis Quaid's newborn twin babies were given almost fatal overdoses of an injectable anticoagulant in LA's Cedars-Sinai hospital. The babies were given nearly 1,000 times the normal 10-unit does of the drug Heparin. While the twins have fortunately recovered, California regulators have fined the hospital $25,000 for giving overdoses of the blood-thinning drug to three children (two of which were Quaid's twins), with the California Department of Public Health concluding that it was due to failure of the staff at Cedars-Sinai to follow their own procedures.

Since that time, in order to take action, Quaid and his wife started The Quaid Foundation, along with suing Baxter International--maker of the blood thinner involved--over its labeling and packaging of heparin. In a segment in March, Baxter told CBS’ 60 Minutes that "The error in the Quaid case rests with the hospital and its staff “because the product was safe and effective, and the errors, as the hospital has acknowledged, were preventable and due to failures in their system.”

Quaid is no doubt a highly significant and influential patient safety advocate for us all. After all, his celebrity status provides a unique and very public platform to bring the issue front and center to the public discourse. Just as we stated when we began this blog, "To improve patient safety practices--and significantly decrease preventable medical errors--necessitates communication as much as it does innovation."

For Quaid the near-death experience has been all too sobering with him professing, “I’d never allow a friend or a family member ever to be in a hospital alone."

All told, what Quaid can do in communicating the current problems and pitfalls, businesses can do in innovating protocols and solutions. Moreover, through our innovation of always-on, 24/7 auditing technology, HVA provides constant monitoring of many patient safety protocols and processes. The result? Neither Quaid's loved ones, nor any member of the public, needs ever be in a hospital "alone."

(HVA results cited here. Process that HVA monitors located here. More information located here.)

Photo Credit: Wall Street Journal Health Blog

Celebrities bring needed attention to preventable medical errors

Last November, actor Dennis Quaid's newborn twin babies were given almost fatal overdoses of an injectable anticoagulant in LA's Cedars-Sinai hospital--the babies were given nearly 1,000 times the normal 10-unit does of the drug Heparin.

While the twins have fortunately recovered, California regulators have fined the hospital $25,000 for giving overdoses of the blood-thinning drug to three children (two of which were Quaid's twins), with the California Department of Public Health has concluded that it was due to failure of the staff at Cedars-Sinai to follow their own procedures. The report rules the overdoses as "preventable medication errors."

The result is two-fold: first, it brings attention to the startling statistics now standing at "1 error per patient per day" which adds up to 100,000 deaths per year in the U.S. alone. But, second, it has brought an unlikely patient safety advocate to the fore in Dennis Quaid (see video below).

While insurers are taking aggressive steps to decrease preventable medical errors and patient safety advocacy groups are working to increase awareness through various programs, celebrity advocates can be pivotal in getting this issue to the front pages of our media and into the hearts and minds of people...and, hopefully, continue to place pressure on hospital administrators (and drug manufacturers) to instill every possible precaution and process in place to prevent further errors.

With 1 error per patient per day now the average (see that CNN video here), this issue is bigger than AIDS and breast cancer--but completely preventable. All told, we simply cannot wait any longer to amplify awareness of this issue. While we feel for the trauma that has been placed on the Quaid's, we are thankful that he is using his experience and his celebrity as a platform to advocate for much-needed change. And we hope that the media continues to dedicate coverage to this issue, especially given better processes and solutions that thwart against human error have already been created.

Part of the 60 Minutes featuring Dennis Quaid and wife is below--RSS and email subscribers, click through to the blog to view. A listing of current statistics is located here.




 

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