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President's Award Recognizes Hospital's Response to Bridge Collapse
Date:7/28/2008

MINNEAPOLIS, July 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hennepin County Medical Center received the President's Award from the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (NAPH) for its response in providing care to victims of the I-35W bridge collapse last year. This award has not been given since 2002, when it was presented to the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation for their service following the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.

Twin Cities area hospitals treated 126 victims of the Aug. 1, 2007 bridge collapse. Hennepin County Medical Center provided care to 31 patients from the collapse; eight of them arrived in critical condition. Some patients were hospitalized for up to two months.

When the bridge collapsed the medical center was operating at near-capacity, but within a short time ten operating rooms and 25 intensive care beds were fully staffed and available to care for patients.

"We are pleased to honor Hennepin County Medical Center with our 2008 President's Award for their heroic response to the I-35W bridge collapse into the Mississippi River," said Larry S. Gage, NAPH president. "As the closest Level 1 trauma center, Hennepin received most of the critical victims. Their rapid response to this tragedy underscores the essential role safety net hospitals play nationwide when disaster strikes."

Hennepin's Emergency Medical Services (EMS) provided leadership in paramedic response and the Medical Resource Control Center at Hennepin coordinated EMS response to the site. A total of 29 ambulances from many ambulance services responded to the scene.

"From our paramedics, to our doctors and nurses and all of the people who support the care that they provide, our response on that night and in the days to follow was outstanding," said Lynn Abrahamsen, CEO. "After Aug. 1, 2007, we truly realized the value and significance of the time and resources we devoted to being prepared for emergencies. We're thankful we were - and are - always ready to respond to the health care needs of our community."

To mark the one-year anniversary, hospital staff will wear blue ribbons at work on Friday. Hennepin EMS will participate in several community events and hospital staff will post memories near a commemorative exhibition of photographs taken by local artist Tom Lane showing the bridge before and after the disaster.

Hennepin County Medical Center is a nationally recognized Level 1 Trauma Center with the largest emergency department in Minnesota. The comprehensive academic medical center and public teaching hospital includes a 446-bed acute care hospital and primary care and specialty clinics located in downtown Minneapolis, and four primary care clinics in Minneapolis and suburban Hennepin County. For the 12th year in a row, Hennepin County Medical Center is listed in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of the top U.S. Hospitals in its annual "America's Best Hospitals" report.

The National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems represent America's largest safety net hospitals and health systems. These facilities provide high-quality health services for all patients, including the uninsured and underinsured regardless of ability to pay. In addition to functioning as the country's default national health insurance system, public hospitals provide many essential community-wide services, such as primary care, trauma care, and neonatal intensive care. Public hospitals also train many of America's doctors, nurses, and other health care providers.


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SOURCE Hennepin County Medical Center
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