HCMC launches clinical trial to treat brain injury using vagus nerve stimulation

“Electroceutical” Treatment Hopes to Stimulate Brain Healing Without Medications


Dr. Molly Hubbard, lead investigator of the VANISH TBI study examines a 3D hologram of the injured patient’s brain. The image was generated by Dr. Abdullah Bin Zahid in the HCMC Brain Injury Research Laboratory.

A simple slip on the ice while crossing a parking lot in downtown Minneapolis triggered the problem for 47-year-old John Doe (not his real name). By the time emergency medical personnel arrived he knew his own name, but did not remember falling, the date, or even where he was.  “I didn’t even know what had happened until I had been in the hospital for three days,” he said.

Brought into Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), John had classic brain injury, with tiny amounts of blood on the surface of his brain and interspersed into its folds. Radiology studies were consistent with brain trauma, but the injury was not severe enough to require surgery. Several days after the accident he moved into the brain injury rehabilitation unit at HCMC.

“I’m still trying to figure out how to get back to my normal life. It’s … hard to believe that this is my life. A lot of symptoms are starting to get better but they’re still there. I have problems remembering words,” said John, who works as a professional writer.

Luckily for John, HCMC, in conjunction with the University of Minnesota, has just launched a new clinical trial to treat brain injury, and he was the second patient to be enrolled.  He remarked, “I really like the idea of being able to help others with brain injury; maybe even help people who have it worse off than me.” Continue reading

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Comprehensive Cancer Center receives national accreditation for breast cancer care

HCMC’s Comprehensive Cancer Center was recently fully accredited by the American College of Surgeons National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC). This means they meet the highest standards of care for patients with diseases of the breast.

“Without everyone working to provide quality care to our patients we would not have been able to attain this accreditation,” said Practice Manager Kelly Ann Porter RN, BS, OCN, CHPN.

To achieve NAPBC accreditation, the Comprehensive Cancer Center underwent a rigorous evaluation and review of performance and compliance with the NAPBC standards. To maintain accreditation, an on-site review must be repeated every three years.

The Comprehensive Cancer Center is committed to providing the finest in cancer-related services through an integrated system of health and social services. The continuum of care extends from prevention, diagnosis, treatment, symptom control, and cure, through all related aspects of adjustment to relapse, survivorship, and bereavement counseling.



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Carbon monoxide poisoning risk increases as temperature decreases

Girl holding a book by the fireplace

Carbon monoxide – odorless, colorless, and tasteless – is a deadly hazard all year round but it becomes a particular threat during cold weather because space heaters, furnaces, and stoves are used more often. The Minnesota Poison Control System is reminding all Minnesotans that the risk of dangerous exposures to carbon monoxide may increase in the upcoming months but these exposures can be prevented.

All fuel-burning equipment and appliances create the risk for carbon monoxide, including water heaters, gas furnaces, wood and gas fireplaces, generators, and automobile engines. At its mildest, carbon monoxide poisoning can feel a little like the flu – causing headaches, dizziness, exhaustion, confusion, fainting, and vomiting. Continue reading

Posted in HCMC News

Newborns at HCMC get a new ride

Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) recently welcomed a special delivery of 60 brand new bassinets for its newest patients. HCMC is the first hospital in the Twin Cities to carry the Nära Bassinet made by Stryker (“Nära” means “near” in Swedish), with features that are designed to keep moms and babies as close as possible.

The hospital’s 10-15 year old bassinets were replaced thanks to a grant from Hennepin Health Foundation to encourage a safe, close postpartum bonding experience between moms and newborns.

“The height of the bassinet can be adjusted, and it has safety and storage features that make this a great choice for our patients,” explains Noah Pardo, RN, nurse manager of NICU/PICU/Pediatrics at HCMC. “Moms are really appreciating the ergonomic properties and simple design.”


Thelma Lee and Ziya

New moms like Thelma Lee agree.

“They are so nice,” she commented when baby Ziya was the first newborn to check out the new bassinet.

Its soft-edge tilting basket that’s secured to the base of the bassinet provides access and visibility to the infant for not only mom – but caregivers as well. The convenient storage drawers beneath the basket stay in place when turning. The steer-locking, soft-wheel casters keep baby rolling smoothly and quietly.

“Mom’s arms are the most comforting, secure place for our newborns, and these bassinets are the safest way to get them there. We’re so pleased to offer the latest technology for who no one can disagree — are our cutest patients,” said Pardo.


Posted in HCMC News

HCMC receives Prevention Care Recognition Award

Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) recently received the Prevention Care Recognition Award from HealthPartners’ Partners in Quality Program. The award recognizes primary care and specialty groups for making major changes to their current processes resulting in persistent, sustainable change for preventive care screening improvement.

The award was based on the process and performance improvement work currently being done at HCMC’s East Lake Clinic through a practice facilitation grant in partnership with the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI) and Stratis Health. The clinic focused on the process for caring for adults and children with asthma and how they could improve interventions.

“The goal of our work was to implement changes in our processes so that patients with asthma could receive seamless care and avoid complications,” said Gao Vang, Health Care Quality Improvement Coordinator at East Lake Clinic. “This work was a comprehensive team effort and we’re so pleased to be recognized with this award.”

Vang and the East Lake clinical staff members played an instrumental part that have led to improved clinical processes and ultimately, improved patient outcomes. There is an extension of the grant that will bring these changes to HCMC’s Brooklyn Center and Golden Valley Clinics in coming months.


Left to right: Jairo Molina, Gao Vang, Dr. Ndidiamaka N. Koka, Janeth Guerra De Patino

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Psychiatry Family Resource Center opens at HCMC

Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) now offers a place for anyone to receive information about mental health. The new Psychiatry Family Resource Center, funded by the generosity of guests who attended Hennepin Health Foundation’s 2015 Light Up the Night benefit, opens on November 1, 2016.

Located on the hospital’s Skyway Level next to its medical library, the Psychiatry Family Resource Center offers a welcoming space that includes:

  • Psychiatry-specific literature
  • Computer stations with web portal for easy access to online information
  • A DVD viewing area
  • An art piece by artist Vara Kamin
  • A volunteer-staffed welcome desk to greet and assist visitors

“It can be challenging to support loved ones living with a mental illness, navigating a complex system and finding the help and support needed,” explains Megen Coyne, RN, MS, senior director of psychiatry at HCMC. “Having this beautiful space where families and friends can find resources, share stories, and dispel myths around mental illness helps build a strong community of support for our patients.”image

Information regarding conditions, treatment options, current topics in mental health, local resources, and services available to patients and their families can be found in the Psychiatric Family Resource Center. All of the information provided has been chosen by health care professionals to make the search for reliable and accurate information easier.

An open house is planned for the public to view the Psychiatry Resource Center on Tuesday, November 1, 2016 from 2 to 6 PM. For more information about the psychiatry services offered at HCMC, go to www.hcmc.org/psychiatry.

Posted in HCMC News

HCMC invites public to topping out ceremony, steel plate signing


We are beaming with pride as we celebrate the structural completion of our new clinic and specialty building this fall. Your support is critical to our growth, and you are invited to participate in two special events.

On Thursday, November 10 at 12 pm we will set in place the last and highest beam during a topping out ceremony. This construction tradition has an ancient history and is still used today to acknowledge good work and progress. You are invited to watch it happen online at www.facebook.com/hcmchealth.

Beams like the last one are vitally important to the new building’s structure, but its real strength is you. In the weeks leading up to the topping out event, staff, patients, families, and the community are invited to sign their name on a piece of the building.

From Monday, October 3-Friday, October 14, stop by the skyway between the Red and Purple Buildings between 11 am and 1 pm to leave your mark on a steel plate. We’re also taking these plates to our neighborhood clinics and other sites to give as many people as possible the opportunity to participate. The signed steel plates will be installed as artwork in the new clinic and specialty building.

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