HCMC marks 25 years of Level I Trauma care

PrintIn 1989, Hennepin County Medical Center HCMC) was the first hospital in Minnesota – and one of the first in the country – to be verified by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) as a Level I Trauma Center.  This year the Level I Adult and Level I Pediatric Trauma Center marks its 25th year with this distinction. Continue reading “HCMC marks 25 years of Level I Trauma care”

Fracture vs. fun: playground injuries

Playground 6Like most 6-year-olds, Josephine Schoemer loves to play at the park on the swings, slides and monkey bars. But on Friday, April 26, a fun evening at the park  with her dad and sister turned into a trip to the emergency department.

Josephine’s mom, Cheyanne, was at work when she got the call. “My husband said she fell forward off the monkey bars and injured her arm, ” she explains, “so I told him to bring her on in.”

In addition to being a mom, Schoemer is an emergency department nurse at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), where children being brought to the ER with playground fractures is nothing unusual. “I just wasn’t expecting to see my daughter in our emergency department.”  An x-ray of Josephine’s arm revealed a fractured elbow from the fall.

Dr. Jackie Geissler
Dr. Jackie Geissler

“Kids — and adults — naturally try to brace themselves from falls by putting their hands out,” explains orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Jackie Geissler, who specializes in upper extremity injuries. “Falls are one of the leading causes of injury on playgrounds, and those injuries are usually fractures.  We see lots of broken  elbows, forearms, and wrists from playground falls.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries each year in the United States.  On public playgrounds, falls from climbing-type equipment account for a majority of the injuries. 

“Making sure that the equipment is age-appropriate for your child and well-maintained, and that the surface that children are playing on is safe will help avoid fractures, but there are other dangers as well,” said Dr. Geissler.

“One of the leading causes of death on playgrounds is strangulation,” explains Injury Prevention Specialist Julie Philbrook, RN. “Kids can get tangled on swings and rope-type equipment and actually suffocate.”

Philbrook also offers the following playground safety tips for parents:

  •  Actively supervise children on playgrounds.
  • The area under the equipment should have a shock-absorbing surfaces such as rubber, synthetic turf, sand, pea gravel, wood chips or mulch.
  • Teach children that pushing, shoving or crowding while on the playground can be dangerous.
  • Use equipment properly — slide feet first, don’t climb outside guardrails, no standing on swings, etc.
  • Never use playground equipment that’s wet because moisture makes the surfaces slippery.

These tips apply to home playgrounds as well, where most of the playground-related deaths tend to occur.

While little Josephine is glad to have her cast off so she can enjoy summer activities, she wasn’t too enthusiastic about a return to the monkey bars.

“I’m excited to go swimming,” she said.

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HCMC welcomes three additional orthopaedic surgeons

Drs. Gudrun Mirick, Jackie Geissler, and Nancy Luger

Three new faculty members recently joined the Orthopaedic Department at Hennepin County Medical Center. In addition to general trauma, the Fellowship-trained surgeons offer expertise in the care of sports injuries, hand and upper extremity injuries, and fracture care. Continue reading “HCMC welcomes three additional orthopaedic surgeons”

Jack Jablonski surgery on Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Statement from the neurosurgeons at Hennepin County Medical Center about Jack Jablonski’s surgery:

“Jack Jablonski’s surgery went very smoothly, and we accomplished the necessary goals which were to assess and stabilize his spinal column to prevent further injury and allow for rehabilitation. Unfortunately, our pre-operative diagnosis was confirmed intra-operatively when we visualized the obviously horrific injury to his spinal column as a result of neck vertebrae dislocation and fractures (C5-6 dislocation fracture and a C6 fracture). An injury to the spinal cord of this nature results in severe neurological dysfunction and often leads to the inability to move the arms and legs.

“Spinal cord damage of this type is irreparable with surgery; however, Jack is young, strong and determined, and has excellent support from family, friends and the community. This support is essential to helping him recover from surgery and continue with the therapies he will require when he goes home.”

Dr. Thomas Bergman, Chief of Neurosurgery, HCMC
Dr. Walter Galicich, Neurosurgeon, HCMC

At 1 p.m. today there will be an opportunity to ask Dr. Walter Galicich questions about Jack’s surgery. Media can enter the hospital at 717 S. Sixth St. at 12:45 p.m. (HCMC’s Purple Building) and someone will bring you to the news conference. Family members will not be available for interviews.