The blue ribbon that will be worn by Hennepin County Medical Center staff ito commemorate the I-35W bridge collapse last year. The medical center has received the President's Award for its reponse to the tragedy. The ribbon is shown with a paramedic's patch.

Hennepin County Medical Center,

HCMC honored for response to I-35W bridge collapse

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH
  • Star Tribune
  • July 29, 2008 - 11:38 PM

Hennepin County Medical Center is receiving a national award for its response to the Interstate 35W bridge collapse.

The National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems on Tuesday announced the President's Award for HCMC, the medical facility nearest where the bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River on Aug. 1, 2007.

The award had not been given since 2002, when it went to the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Also, members of Hennepin's Emergency Medical (ambulance) Services are marking the somber date by participating in several community events, and HCMC staff members will wear blue ribbons Friday and post memories near a commemorative exhibition of photographs showing the bridge before and after the disaster. The photos are on the Medical Center's skyway level, near the cafeteria.

Twin Cities area hospitals treated 126 victims of the bridge collapse. HCMC cared for 31; eight of whom arrived in critical condition. Some of the bridge collapse patients were hospitalized for up to two months.

When the bridge collapsed, HCMC was operating at near-capacity, but 10 operating rooms and 25 intensive-care beds were quickly put into service to care for victims.

"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 of HCMC.

"After August 1, 2007, we truly realized the value and significance of the time and resources we devoted to being prepared for emergencies."

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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