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In 2007, actor Dennis Quaid's newborn twins were given in-hospital overdoses for infections, and nearly died. Angered and confused by the incident, Quaid turned his attention towards finding out how such a thing could happen within the US healthcare system and discovered what he calls two shocking truths:

“First, the staggering magnitude of healthcare harm that occurs in our country. Second, how much of that harm is absolutely preventable.”

With thousands of people dying each year in the US due to “healthcare harm”, the third leading cause of death in that country, Quaid says there is a solution – investing in technology. Things such as bedside bar-coding, smart infusion pumps, electronic medical records, automated infection tracking and things as simple and inexpensive as checklists are proven antidotes to healthcare professional error. The National Quality Forum for Safe Practices is a road map that already exists for hospitals to implement.

Last year, Quaid’s Foundation merged with the Texas Medical Institute of Technology (TMIT) in the creation of Chasing Zero, a powerful and informative documentary presenting both the problems and solutions to healthcare harm. The documentary was aired on the Discovery Channel throughout last spring.

Since then, TMIT has distributed the documentary in DVD form to quality improvement organizations, healthcare planning leaders and companies, and hospitals across the country, including an additional hour of anecdotal content. Quaid’s theory is that putting personal stories to any issue is necessary to gain support and to drive action.

“Zero harm is the number,” says Quaid. “Now is the time.”
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