Firefighters for Healing to bring holiday gifts to burn patients


Last year Firefighters for Healing brought fire trucks loaded with gifts for HCMC burn patients.

Firefighters For Healing, a nonprofit foundation founded by firemen who tragically experienced firsthand what burn victims endure, will once again spread holiday cheer to patients and families at Hennepin County Medical Center’s (HCMC) Burn Center. Former Minnesota Vikings football player and national recording artist Esera Tuaolo will join the firefighters to help distribute gifts and sing for patients and staff.

“Our mission is to have a direct impact on the lives of children and other burn survivors by providing support and assistance in ways insurance companies and caretakers and family members are unable to,” explains Firefighters for Healing founder and former HCMC patient Jake Laferriere. “We work with local burn units such as HCMC to provide the resources burn survivors and their families need as they begin the long journey of healing.”

Who: Firefighters for Healing (FFH) founder Jake Laferriere and Minneapolis Fire Fighters

What: Firefighter’s For Healing will be spreading holiday cheer as they bring gifts to patients in Hennepin County Medical Center’s (HCMC) Burn Center.

When: Thursday, December 10 at 10:30 AM. Minneapolis Fire trucks will be arriving at HCMC around 10:30 AM at the 717 S. Sixth St. entrance.

Where: Burn Center at Hennepin County Medical Center – enter at 717 S. Sixth St.

Firefighters for Healing is a non-profit foundation founded by a former firefighter, which provides financial and emotional support to children whom are survivors of severe burns. Through the contributions of generous donors, FFH subsidizes a variety of resources and information for burn survivors and their families, including: corrective surgeries; replacement of essential living items lost in fires; enrollment in supportive community youth programs; and financial assistance to local hospital burn units. To learn more about Firefighters for Healing, visit, or

The Hennepin County Medical Center Burn Center provides intensive, acute, and rehabilitative care to children and adults from the Twin Cities and surrounding states who have sustained burn injuries and other complex wounds, including frostbite, necrotizing soft tissue infections, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, pressure wounds, and inhalation injuries. For more information, go to

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Dr. Christopher Robert

Statement from Hennepin County Medical Center on the death of Dr. Christopher Robert

We have been informed that Dr. Christopher Robert, Chief of Anesthesiology at HCMC, died this past weekend. We are profoundly saddened by the loss of Dr. Robert and we extend our thoughts and support to his family at this difficult time. We have been supporting his colleagues and co-workers today as they continue their daily work to provide care to our community.

Dr. Robert joined HCMC in 2003 and was appointed Chief of Anesthesiology in 2011.

Posted in HCMC News

HIV/AIDS awareness activities to mark World AIDS Day

World AIDS dayTuesday, December 1 is World AIDS Day and to mark the occasion, Hennepin County Medical Center’s (HCMC) Positive Care Center is hosting a World AIDS Day event from 11 AM to 1 PM in the hospital’s Red Skyway (over 7th Ave) in Minneapolis.

The public is invited to visit with community partners including the Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Human Services, Minnesota AIDS Project, Youth and AIDS Project, and others who are scheduled to be at HCMC on Tuesday.

“In addition to providing education and resources, we’ll be distributing red ribbons to help show support for those living with HIV/AIDS,” explains Hank Jensen from HCMC’s LGBT & Allies Employee Resource Group, who are co-sponsoring the event. HCMCWAD15tag

“We’re encouraging everyone attending the event to raise awareness by using hashtag #HCMCWAD15 when sharing on social media.”

The Positive Care Center at HCMC is staffed by a multi-disciplinary team committed to providing quality, comprehensive health and psycho-social services to those living with HIV. The program provides education, serves as a community and family resource, and contributes extensively to the advancement of HIV-related knowledge.

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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.



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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

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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!

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