When a couple has trouble with childbirth but is determined to have children, they’ll move heaven and earth to make it happen. And sometimes, with a bit of luck and lots of help from medical professionals, they succeed.
While that moment should be the happiest time of their lives, that isn’t always the case. “We all have this inherent thing that we trust doctors and nurses, that they know what they’re doing,” Dennis Quaid said. He would soon find out that sometimes, that trust can be misplaced…
Third Time’s the Charm
Dennis Quaid, the star of films like Frequency, The Right Stuff, and The Parent Trap, married his third wife Kimberly in 2004. Dennis already had a son from his rocky second marriage with Meg Ryan but Kimberly had none of her own.
Let’s Have a Baby
Like most newlyweds, the happy couple wanted to have children together. And while Dennis was 50 years old at the time, Kimberly was still in her mid-30s. It was possible that it might take them a little bit longer to become pregnant than a younger couple, but that didn’t deter them…
Heartbreak after Heartbreak
But over the next several years, Dennis and Kimberly tried again and again to become pregnant with the most heartbreaking results. They succeeded 5 times and each time, Kimberly miscarried. With each attempt having the same devastating end, most couples would have given up.
Never Give Up
Undeterred, the Quaids were intent on having a child together. They decided to try using a “gestational surrogate” to help them have a child. Without going deep into the science, this type of pregnancy fertilizes an embryo in a lab, using the parents DNA. It then puts that egg into a surrogate mother, who later gives birth to the child naturally…
While the medical procedure is expensive and complicated by itself, hiring a surrogate to carry their baby was also very expensive for the Quaids. Hiring a surrogate for nine months usually costs over $100,000!
We Can Do It
But Dennis and Kimberly had enough money and more than enough desire to have a child. In early 2007, they found the doctors to perform the procedure and a surrogate to carry the child, the Quaids decided to move forward…
Twice as Happy
Roughly 9 months later, on November 8th, Dennis and Kimberly’s surrogate gave birth. Everything went well and they were blessed with with one but two beautiful babies. They’d had a healthy pair of fraternal twins, Thomas Boone and Zoe Grace.
“We were so happy to be able to be blessed by those two,” Dennis said. “They both came out so perfect.” They brought their new twins home to safe and sound. That initial joy they felt when the two were born would soon turn to worry and fear…
A few days later, the twins both showed signs of having a staph infection. Staph infections are pretty rare in newborns — the odds are roughly one in a thousand. And if not properly treated, such an infection can become deadly.
The Doctors Can Help
“It was the scariest, most frightening day that I think either of us have ever been through, to come face to face with your little kids who – so young in that kinda situation,” sad Dennis. On the advice of their doctors, the Quaids admitted the twins to the hospital. They were to be given a routine treatment with intravenous antibiotics…
Won’t Leave Your Side
Concerned for their twins’ safety, the distressed parents stayed at the hospital with them as they received their treatment. Thankfully, they seemed to be responding well to the IV treatment and were steadily recovering. On the second day at the hospital, Dennis and Kimberly decided to go home to get a few hours of rest and left instructions to call them if there were any problems.
A Mother’s Intuition
That evening, around 9pm, Kimberly sensed that something was wrong. “I just had this horrible feeling come over me and I felt like that the babies were passing. And I just had this feeling of dread,” she recalled. Dennis called up the hospital and was told by the babies’ nurse that “they’re fine. They’re just fine”…
They’re Not Alright
But the babies were far from fine. Just around the time of the phone call, the nurses had discovered that the twins had been given the wrong medication. They were supposed to be given a blood thinner meant for babies called Hep-lock to prevent blood clots while connected to the IV. Instead, they’d accidentally been given two doses of Heparin, the adult version of the same drug, which is 1,000 times stronger…
“We all have this inherent thing that we trust doctors and nurses, that they know what they’re doing. But this mistake occurred right under our noses, that the nurse didn’t bother to look at the dosage on the bottle,” Dennis said.. “It was ten units that our kids are supposed to get. They got 10,000”…
Truly A Nightmare
According to Dennis, the overdose “basically turned their blood to the consistency of water, where they had a complete inability to clot. And they were basically bleeding out at that point.” He added “there was blood oozing out of little blood draws on their feet … through band-aids.”
The Cover Up
That bleeding was what initially let the nurses know that something was wrong. Even though the hospital knew about the mistake and began taking measures to correct it at this point, they decided not to call the Quaids to let them know…
Early the next day, Dennis and Kimberly returned to the hospital to be by their childrens’ sides once again. Upon arriving to the twins’ room they were met at the door by their pediatrician, the head nurse, and the hospital’s lawyers.
Inside the room, the twins were bruised and bleeding from the many puncture wounds where blood hand been drawn and where they had been given injections. “They were working on Boone, whose belly button would not stop bleeding. And while they were trying to clamp it, blood squirted across the room, about six feet and landed on the wall. It was blood everywhere,” Dennis said…
Out of the Woods
The twins were in serious danger for the next two days. Doctors and nurses treated them with a coagulant to counteract the blood thinner and eventually the babies stabilized. After twelve grueling days at the hospital, they came home for good.
Happy and Healthy
Ten years after the horrifying ordeal, the twins are happy and healthy. “They are perfectly normal as can be now,” Dennis said. The Quaids ended up reaching a $750,000 settlement with the hospital and made them institute new safety policies.