Category Archives: HCMC News

Food prep tips for a healthy Thanksgiving meal

Food safety tips for before and after your Thanksgiving meal
from the Minnesota Poison Control System


While Thanksgiving is a time for families and friends to gather, express gratitude, and enjoy a meal together, this time of year is also associated with an increased risk of food poisoning.  America’s 55 poison centers help manage tens of thousands of cases involving suspected food poisoning each year.   This Thanksgiving, the Minnesota Poison Control System (MPCS), encourages Americans to take a few simple food safety precautions to prevent food poisoning and help ensure a delicious and safe Thanksgiving meal.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1 in 6, or 48 million people contract food poisoning each year, with approximately 128,000 of those people being hospitalized and 3,000 dying of illnesses associated with food poisoning.  According to Stephen T. Kaminski, JD, AAPCC CEO and Executive Director, “the good news is that food poisoning is largely preventable.  By taking a few simple food safety precautions, you can avoid offering food poisoning a seat at your Thanksgiving table.  And remember, if you do suspect food poisoning, expert help is a quick, free call away at 1-800-222-1222.”

Symptoms of food poisoning usually appear within hours of eating
contaminated food, and often include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains, and diarrhea.  Food poisoning symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours to several days.  While most food poisoning cases are mild and resolve without medical care, some episodes can be more severe and require expert treatment advice. “Pregnant women, young children, and those with vulnerable immune systems should be especially cautious during the holiday season. By saving the Poison Help phone number into a mobile telephone, anyone can be prepared in the event of a poisoning emergency,” said Kaminski.

The MPCS offers the following simple food safety tips for preparing and enjoying your holiday meals:


  • Keep meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods in your grocery bags, in the refrigerator, and while prepping.
  • Wash your hands, kitchen surfaces, utensils, and cutting boards frequently, especially after handling or preparing uncooked food and before touching or eating other foods. Wash produce but not eggs, meat, or poultry, which can spread harmful bacteria.
  • Use the microwave, cold water, or the refrigerator method to defrost your frozen meat or poultry. Do not thaw or marinate these items on the counter, and be sure to cook them immediately after thawing.


  • The bacteria that cause food poisoning multiply quickest in the ‘Danger Zone,’ which is between 40˚ and 140˚ Fahrenheit. In general, it’s best to keep hot food hot, and cold food cold.
  • Use a food thermometer to check if meat is fully cooked and heated high enough to kill harmful bacteria. Cook turkey until it reaches 165° F.
  • The safest way to cook stuffing is outside of the turkey in a casserole dish. However, if you choose to cook stuffing inside the turkey, stuff the turkey just before cooking, and use a food thermometer to make sure the center of the stuffing reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Remove the stuffing immediately after the turkey is finished cooking and place in a separate serving dish.


  • Refrigerate leftovers promptly – within two hours – at 40° F or below to help reduce the risk of bacterial growth.
  • Prevent cross-contamination by completely and securely covering foods in the refrigerator.
  • Consume or freeze leftovers within 3-4 days.

The Minnesota Poison Control System is available to provide expert, free, and confidential information and treatment advice 24-hours per day, seven days a week, year-round, including holidays. If you have any questions about safe food preparation, or if you or someone you know suspects food poisoning, call the Poison Help line at 1(800) 222-1222.

Poison HelpFor more information, the media may contact Kirk Hughes, Education
Director at 612-873-5644 or Deb Anderson, Managing Director at 612-873-2107.

To learn more, visit, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @mnpoisoncenter.



Event to mark groundbreaking for new downtown clinic and specialty center and inaugural flight to second helistop

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Two events will mark the biggest expansion in the history of Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) when groundbreaking for the new 377,000 square foot clinic and specialty center takes place on Thursday, November 12, 2015 – moments before the inaugural landing of a helicopter on the hospital’s newest helistop.

The $220.8 million clinic building will consolidate 40 clinics and specialty services that are currently spread across nine buildings downtown into one facility. Care will be centralized and accessible for people who need a quick visit to the doctor, same day surgery, or the latest cancer treatment, with close parking and skyway connections to rest of the HCMC campus.

Immediately following the clinic building groundbreaking ceremony a Life Link III helicopter will land on the new helistop carrying 6-year-old Reagan Lennes, a patient from Alexandria who was flown to the Level I Pediatric Trauma Center at HCMC last year.

“Reagan is an amazing young lady who’s had a remarkable recovery,” explains Dr. Andrew Kiragu, Medical Director for HCMC’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. “She doesn’t remember her helicopter flight last year, but we’re hoping this ride is one she’ll never forget.”

IMG_2106The new helistop doubles the capacity to receive trauma patients by air and reduces the transport time into the hospital. The $3.8 million helistop sits atop the roof of the building housing the emergency department, operating rooms, and intensive care units. The original helistop, located on a nearby parking ramp, will be available when multiple patients are being transported by air to the Level I Adult and Pediatric Trauma Center.



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HCMC is an Air Aware Employer

air-aware-badge-300-134Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) is the first healthcare organization to participate in the Air Aware Employer program, a project between the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). As an Air Aware Employer, HCMC will send out Air Quality Index alerts through our company communications system to let employees know when the air quality in the region has dropped to harmful levels.  During an Air Alert, HCMC will encourage team members to take simple steps to protect personal health and wellness and reduce the number and duration of bad air days.

Poor air quality negatively impacts all residents and businesses in the region.  According to a new report published by the MDH and the MPCA, in 2008 air pollution contributed to 2000 deaths,  400 hospitalizations and 600 emergency room visits in the Twin Cities. Unhealthy air also negatively impacts area employers with higher absenteeism, reduced work productivity and more extensive and expensive regulations.

Simple choices, such as taking transit, carpooling or bicycling to work not only offer cost savings and health benefits – they can also make a difference in our region’s air quality.  That’s why HCMC offers commuter benefits to its employees like Metropass transit pass subsidy, payroll deduction for transit passes, bicycle storage, showers and lockers, and ZAP Twin Cities. To learn more about regional commuter programs and services, visit

New listing of “Rising Stars” includes 9 HCMC MDs

Mpls/StPaul Magazine, known for its “Top Docs” list that’s published every year, recently created a new category of physicians they call “Rising Stars.” This new list includes 321 fully licensed physicians in 42 specialties who were nominated by their peers and have been in practice for 10 years or less.

HCMC’s outstanding “Rising Stars” include: Aaron Brosam, Gastroenterology; Jon Cole, Emergency Medicine; Jacqueline Geissler, Orthopedics; Gaurav Guliani, Neurology; Maria Moscandrew, Gastroenterology; Brionn Tonkin, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; Tseganesh Selameab, Internal Medicine; Veeti Tandon, Internal Medicine and Rebecca Zadroga, Infectious Disease. Congratulations to all of these up-and-coming physicians for the outstanding work they are doing in their fields of expertise!

Cold weather increases risk for carbon monoxide poisoning

Poison HelpWith home-heating season near, the Minnesota Poison Control System and the Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division remind Minnesotans that the risk of dangerous exposures to carbon monoxide (CO) increases — but these exposures can be prevented.

Approximately 500 people die each year in the United States due to unintentional CO poisoning. Another 150,000 people end up in the emergency room. Children are especially vulnerable. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 14 Minnesotans died of carbon monoxide poisoning in 2014.

Sources of Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas which can leak from faulty furnaces, water heaters or gas stoves. Other sources include a running car engine in an attached garage or a gas-powered generator operating indoors or outside close to dwellings. Outdoor generators should be placed more than 20 feet from your home, doors and windows.

What are the Symptoms?
Carbon monoxide prevents effective delivery of oxygen throughout the body in the bloodstream. At lower levels, carbon monoxide can cause flu-like symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue

At higher levels, or with prolonged exposure, it can cause chest pain, confusion, disorientation, impaired vision and coordination, brain damage, coma and death.

iStock_000070642173_LargeHow Can You Protect Your Family?
Install CO detectors in your home. Minnesota law requires  all single family, apartment and multifamily dwellings have a UL-listed CO alarm within 10 feet of each bedroom.

Replace old CO detectors in your home. As a general rule, CO detectors need replacing every five years.  Follow manufacturer recommendations for more specific replacement information.

If the CO alarm sounds and anyone is feeling symptoms of CO poisoning, leave the house immediately. Call the Poison Center, fire department, local emergency medical services or local utility company.

For more information about CO poisoning, contact the Minnesota Poison Control System anytime at 1-800-222-1222 or visit us on the web at The State Fire Marshal Division has more information at

 Fire Marshal


Vaccines are like bike helmets

Dr. Colianni and her daughter

Dr. Colianni and Elena

In addition to being a pediatrician, Dr. Sonja Colianni is a mom who loves her children.

She recently brought her daughter Elena in for a check-up, which included immunizations.

“I vaccinate my children because it is something simple I can do to protect them from harm, and to help protect the children around them,” Dr. Colianni explains. “I view vaccines like bike helmets and seat belts – well worth using because they can prevent serious harm from things we encounter every day.”

Dr. Colianni recommends the same for her patients. “It is clear to me that the benefit of vaccines far outweigh any possible risks. While I have seen several children harmed by vaccine-preventable diseases, I have never seen a negative vaccine reaction that would prevent me from giving them.”

If you have concerns about vaccines, she recommends that you have an honest talk with your child’s physician about your concerns and ask for reliable sources of information.

“As pediatricians and parents it’s our job to protect the health of all children, not just our own. We take that job very seriously.”

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Colianni or any of the pediatricians at Hennepin County Medical Center, call 612.873.6963.

Friendly bicycle safety tips from America’s bike-friendly city

8107147446_3c920374ae_zMinnesota is known for its challenging weather – and the hardy folks who challenge it! Recently Minneapolis was reported to be the only US city on the worldwide bike-friendly list. This news may have come as a surprise for the rest of the country, but not to local bike enthusiasts.

Bicycling is great exercise, but an injury can ruin a great ride even in America’s bike-friendly city. And according to a recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), bicycle-related injuries continue to rise with more people enjoying the sport.

Dr. Andrew Schmidt

Dr. Andrew Schmidt

“Injuries to the shoulder and wrist are probably the most common bicycle crash-related injuries,” explains Dr. Andrew Schmidt, Chief of Orthopedics at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC).  “These include clavicle fractures, shoulder separations and fractured wrists, too.”

In automobile-bicycle crashes, the impact can cause severe or life-threatening injuries to the pelvis, spine and lower extremities. Bike helmets should always be worn to avoid brain injury.

Overuse injuries don’t involve a crash or fall, but can be extremely painful. Carpal tunnel syndrome, lower back and neck pain, pain in and around the knee area, tendonitis and toe injuries are commonly seen with bicycle fans.

“Proper bike fitting, stretching and appropriate training methods can help prevent these types of overuse injuries,” said Dr. Schmidt.

Minnesotans enjoy bicycling every month of the year, even when it’s icy. But according to Dr. Schmidt, one of the most dangerous times of the year to ride may be in the spring, when everyone is especially anxious to get outside, but the roads are still full of debris, including sand and gravel as well as unrepaired potholes.

“The causes of bike injuries will vary somewhat with the season, which influences the safety and condition of the surface the cyclist rides on, their visibility, and other factors that affect the risk of falls or collisions,” he said.

In addition to road construction detours and debris during the summer months, heat exhaustion can also be a problem. Symptoms of hyperthermia include disorientation, which can put cyclists at risk for injuries from falls and crashes. Good hydration and common sense are critical at all times – but especially during extremely hot and humid weather.

A bicycle injury may be a minor setback, but in time most can get back to enjoying this activity.

“In general, a reasonable period of healing and off-bike rehabilitation would be needed before riding again after suffering a fracture, but it depends on what type of fracture occurred and how it was treated,” explains Dr. Schmidt.

3652242935_940edb279c_zSo get out there and safely enjoy the great trails and amenities available for cyclists in our nationally recognized city! If you do experience an injury, HCMC has nationally recognized orthopedic specialists who can help you get back on track as soon as possible.