Thursday, January 10, 2008

but they're still suing Baxter

Anyone who knows me personally knows I'm pretty much disgusted by my own industry these days, so for me to take an unpopular approach in defending a manufacturer may be surprising to some. This being said, I noticed that Dennis Quaid and his wife are now on the warpath against Cedars-Sinai over the horrific and easily preventable heparin overdose their newborn twins received shortly after they were born. The Quaids decided to sue Baxter, the product manufacturer, but not the hospital as they hospital had acknowledged the error and were apologetic about the error. Now, I understand that, despite having color coded labels to differentiate between doses, there have been quite a few errors in dosing with heparin that have lead to some really bad outcomes and agree that, wherever possible, a manufacturer and regulatory agencies should do what they can to to help ensure weary healthcare workers don't make mistakes. That being said, when the news of the lawsuit against Baxter was announced I thought the suit was ill-conceived and a wrong-headed approach.

The human error involved in the overdose of the Quaid twins was human error that was easily preventable times 2. Human error was made when the higher concentration vials of heparin were delivered to a pediatric unit and then compounded when the healthcare provider using the vials apparently didn't bother to look at them prior to dosing the infants. As such, it is fully possible that the error would have been made regardless of any action or change to labeling by the manufacturer. Even pedigreeing was in place and Cedars had bar-coded the vials and so the vials be scanned prior to use to track the use of the vials, it's still likely that a rushed healthcare provider may well dose a patient and then scan/check the vial label.

The latest news is that the Quaid twins actually received twice the overdose than originally reported. The Quaid family is understandably pissed off at this discovery and, since this is a true case of overt negligence by hospital staff , a malpractice suit against Cedars is warranted. It is now apparent that t
he twins would have been overdosed (granted, to a lesser degree) regardless of labeling and that the Quaid family should drop the lawsuit against the manufacturer.

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