Dennis Quaid
American Actor and Musician
Patient Safety Advocate

Dennis Quaid was born on April 9, 1954 in Houston, Texas. He grew up in the Houston suburban city of Bellaire. He studied drama, Mandarin Chinese, and dance while a student at Bellaire High School. He continued study at the University of Houston, but dropped out before completing his degree. He moved to Los Angeles to pursue a film career where his brother, Randy Quaid, had already began to build a successful career.  Aside from acting, Quaid is also a musician, and plays with his band, “The Sharks”.  He also holds a flying license. 

On November 18, 2007, hospital staff mistakenly gave Quaid’s ten-day-old twins a dosage of heparin (a blood thinner) that was 1,000 times the common dosage for infants.  The babies recovered, but Quaid filed a lawsuit against the drug manufacturer, Baxter Healthcare, claiming that packaging for the two doses of heparin are not different enough. In May 2008, the Quaids testified before the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, asking U.S. Congress not to preempt the right to sue drug manufacturers for negligence under state law.  This incident led Quaid to become a patient-safety advocate, producing a series of documentaries on preventable medical errors that aired on the Discovery Channel as well as co-authoring a medical journal article addressing the positive influence of patient stories in motivating change in healthcare.  The first documentary, Chasing Zero: Winning the War on Healthcare Harm, aired on the Discovery Channel in 2010, and the second documentary, Surfing the Healthcare Tsunami: Bring Your Best Board, aired on the in 2012.