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Heparin Overdoses in Texas Kill Second Baby

Filed July 11th, 2008 amy

After a Texas hospital accidentally administered to more than a dozen babies, a second baby has died. Kay Lynn Garcia died Wednesday afternoon after her twin brother, Keith, passed away earlier this week. The babies were born prematurely, and it is still being investigated whether the heparin overdoses caused the twins’ death or just contributed to it. Either way, the parents have hired legal counsel who has yet to file a lawsuit pending the investigation.

Christus Spohn Hospital South is investigating the overdoses, and spokeswoman Sherry Carr-Deer confirmed Thursday that 14 babies received a more concentrated form of heparin than was prescribed, three fewer than was reported Wednesday. “We know for sure, we know absolutely for sure, that there were 14 babies who got the concentrated heparin,” Carr-Deer said. She said there were three other babies in the unit when the higher doses were given, but it wasn’t clear whether they received them.

In November, actor Dennis Quaid’s 12-day-old twins were accidentally given overdoses of heparin at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, California. According to standard procedure, nurses were supposed to clean the infants’ IV lines with Hep-Lock, a drug containing a very small dose of heparin. However, instead of the 10 units of heparin they were supposed to receive, the twins received 10,000 units, or 1,000 times the prescribed amount. The labels on the two bottles were “deadly similar,” Quaid told members of Congress at a May hearing.

The heparin in the Quaid case was made by Baxter Healthcare. Christus Spohn Hospital South said the heparin used in their case was not made by Baxter, but it would not say who manufactured it because the mistake was a mixing error, not a confusion of bottle labels.

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