"Fighting for Their Lives"

"Fighting for Their Lives"
Kimberly and Dennis Quaid
Jason Merritt/FilmMagic

11/29/2007 AT 12:00 PM EST

When actor Dennis Quaid and his wife, Kimberly, welcomed their twins, Thomas Boone and Zoe Grace, on Nov. 8, the proud new parents couldn't wait to bond with the children they had long waited for. "These babies were beautiful – perfect," says Kimberly's brother Blake Buffington. Delivered via a gestational carrier at a Santa Monica hospital close to their due date – Boone, as his parents call him, weighed in at a healthy 6 lbs., 12 oz., Zoe at 5 lb., 9 oz. – the twins went home with the Quaids soon after their delivery. But just 12 days later, a distraught Kimberly called her brother with devastating news:The twins, after being admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in L.A., were accidentally given a dangerous overdose of a blood thinner. "She could barely get out three sentences," says Buffington. "She said they weren't sure if they were going to make it. She told me, 'The babies are fighting for their lives.' "

For Dennis, 53, and Kimberly, 36, it has been one medical nightmare after another. Within a week of being brought home to the Quaids' house in L.A., the twins were hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai due to staph infections – which can occur when common staph bacteria infect the skin, tissue or the bloodstream. At the hospital on Nov. 18, they were allegedly among three patients given 1,000 times the recommended dose of heparin, a drug used to prevent IV catheters from clotting. The dosage was high enough to cause severe bleeding and death if left untreated. (On Nov. 20 a Cedars-Sinai spokeswoman issued a statement apologizing for the "preventable error"; they have since declined further comment.) "The babies are still at the hospital in intensive care," Buffington said on Nov. 27. "We're hoping they get to come home from the hospital, but we don't know how long that will be. Kimberly has gotten to hold them a few times, but they are on monitors and IVs, so it's hard. You have these fragile little kids going through a medical crisis they absolutely did not need to go through."

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