Dennis Quaid has starred in plenty of dramas over the course of his career, but none compared to the real-life scenario he and wife Kimberly found themselves facing last November.
In a 60 Minutes interview Sunday, the Quaids recounted watching their newborn twins fight for their lives after they were mistakenly given an overdose of the blood thinner heparin.
"It was the scariest, most frightening day, I think, that either of us have ever been through," the actor said.
The couple welcomed twins Thomas Boone and Zoe Grace, born to a surrogate mother, on Nov. 8.
Days later, the twins were found to be suffering from a staph infection and were admitted to Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for treatment.
The Quaids said they were assured the twins were in good hands and went home to sleep for a few hours. However, Kimberly Quaid suddenly had a feeling that something was wrong with the babies, even though no one from the hospital had called to notify the parents of any complications.
Trusting maternal intuition, the couple returned to the hospital only to find doctors and nurses battling to save their twins' lives.
The overdose of the blood thinner had turned the babies' blood to the "consistency of water, where they had a complete inability to clot," Quaid recalled.
"They were basically bleeding out at that point."
He described a grisly scene, with "blood everywhere."
"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."
Fortunately, the twins have since made a full recovery. However, the Quaids are doing what they can to ensure that other parents don't have to go through the same harrowing situation.
The couple sued heparin manufacturer Baxter Healthcare Corp. in December, alleging that the company was negligent in packaging different doses of the drug in similar vials.
Responding to the couple's allegations, Baxter exec Debra Bello claimed the product was "safe and effective, and the errors, as the hospital has acknowledged, were preventable and due to failures in their system."
Following an internal investigation, Cedars-Sinai acknowledged mistakes were made. The facility has since revised its policies regarding administration of heparin and other high-risk medications and taken steps to retrain staff working with such drugs.
Still, that's not good enough for the Quaids, who are making it their mission to draw attention to how commonplace medical mistakes are.
"These mistakes that occurred to us are not unique," Quaid told 60 Minutes. "They happen in every hospital, in every state in this country."