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Dennis Quaid at National Press Club, fighting medical errors, avoiding the John Edwards question






Can you see it? We can totally see it. Dennis Quaid speaking at the National Press Club in Washington on Monday; John Edwards at a Las Vegas health care forum in 2007. Caption. (Cliff Owen/AP; Ethan Miller/Getty Images)


There's plenty about Dennis Quaid -- boyish good looks, playful grin, awesome hair -- that reminds people of John Edwards, which is why the actor is the blogosphere's odds-on favorite to play the disgraced politician in the inevitable biopic.

But the Quaid is steering clear -- for the moment. When asked whether he was interested in the part at Monday's National Press Club appearance, he cracked up, slammed down a gavel and declared, "That concludes today's luncheon. ... Call my agent."

All in fun, of course. Quaid, who turned 56 last Friday (the lunch crowd sang a ragged "Happy Birthday") has the natural charm and charisma to play (or be) a politician. Ten years ago, he spent a weekend in the White House with Bill Clinton -- "smartest man I ever met, by the way" -- and next month he will appear as the 42nd president in HBO's "The Special Relationship," with Michael Sheen as Tony Blair.

But Quaid came to D.C. in his real-life role as a dad: Two years ago, his 10-day-old twins almost died when they accidentally received a massive overdose of Heparin, a blood-thinning drug. "Little did I know how dangerous any hospital can be," he told the audience. " ... I'm an actor: If I make a mistake, I have Take.2 -- or 3, or 4 or 37 -- and believe me, I've been there. But if a caregiver makes a mistake, it can mean someone's life."

The babies recovered, and Quaid and his wife have become passionate advocates for better medical safety procedures (bedside bar codes, etc.) to prevent health-care errors. He's introducing a documentary on the subject next week, but said he has no plans to dramatize his family's personal ordeal. "It's really difficult to relive that. I don't think I'd want to spend two to three months making a movie about it. I think the story is already powerful enough."

Besides, he said, the twins have revolutionized how hospitals address patient safety: "They should be proud of themselves for what they've done at such an early age. They really have changed the world already."

By The Reliable Source  |  April 13, 2010; 1:05 AM ET
 
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