Inside Gillette Blog

Where’s the Dirt?

Posted On: 02/24/2010

Last fall, our hillside looked like this:

Now, it looks like this:

So what’s changed? That’s easy — there’s a whole lot less dirt.  Dump trucks have been steadily hauling dirt from our hillside, making way for the steel structure that will transform into our new patient care building. And, not to brag, but our dirt is in high demand. That’s because, while we have plenty, there’s other construction sites that don’t have enough.  But we’re happy to share!  We’re hauling dirt to sites throughout the Twin Cities, where it will be used to level uneven elevations and for landscaping.

All in all, crews will remove a whopping 45,000 tons of dirt from our hillside—an average of 3,150 tons each day.  Dirt removal should be finished this week, just as crews begin pouring the concrete foundations of our new building. These foundations, called footings, will ultimately support the weight of our building and all of its contents (people included)!

CEO Photo of the Week

Gillette CEO Margaret Perryman captured the dirt removal process on her camera this week.

We’re Building a Bigger, and Better, PICU

Posted On: 02/21/2010

Take a look around Gillette, and you’ll soon realize there’s as much construction activity in our existing hospital space as there is across University Avenue. That’s because crews are hard at work building an expanded Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) in the space formerly occupied by Gillette’s Rehabilitation Therapies department. 

Plans for our new PICU began as early as last summer — when the American College of Surgeons recognized Regions Hospital, in partnership with Gillette, as the state’s first Level I Pediatric Trauma Center. Level I designation means we’ll see even greater numbers of critically-injured children. But our current PICU simply isn’t large enough to keep up with the demand we’re expecting to see.

The entrance to our new PICU (top) and one of 10 patient rooms (bottom).

Our expanded PICU will increase our patient capacity from six beds to 10 — so we’ll always have a bed for every child that needs our care. Patient rooms will be private, with space for a loved one to stay overnight. All-glass doors and windows into patient rooms will help nurses keep a watchful eye on patients recovering from injuries or surgery.  We’re also adding special facilities for families needing to stay overnight with their child — in some cases, unexpectedly. Families will have access to showers, as well as a private lounge space.

Clearly, we’ve still got work to do! But in just 3 short months, our new PICU will be open and caring for patients.

Tyler Spreads the Word About National Pancake Day

Posted On: 02/21/2010

Need a good reason to dine out tomorrow?  Look no further than our generous friends at IHOP.  From 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., your family can enjoy a FREE short stack of buttermilk pancakes.  In return, IHOP hopes you’ll make a donation to Gillette, Minnesota’s Children’s Miracle Network hospital.

8-year-old Gillette patient Tyler will be among diners at the Bloomington, Minn. IHOP tomorrow morning. To meet this inspirational little boy – and see how you can join him in supporting us on National Pancake Day – click here.

Tyler comes to Gillette for treatment of osteogenesis imperfecta, or OI. He'll greet diners at the Bloomington IHOP tomorrow morning.

Working Towards Seizure-Free, With Help From A Gillette Neurologist

Posted On: 02/17/2010

When Mark and Sandy Brull moved from California to the Twin Cities 3 years ago, they knew to expect autumn colors, snowy winters, and those telltale Midwestern accents.  But the family discovered something else, as well — Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare and a neurologist who’s helping their little girl, 9-year-old Maya, overcome a mysterious seizure disorder.

Mark Brull describes his daughter (left, with her sister) as a charmer. “She radiates sweetness. Just being around her is a pleasure.”

Maya had her first seizure when she was just 3 ½ years old. She was diagnosed with intractable epilepsy — a condition that means, quite simply, that her seizures are difficult for doctors to control.  She’s been under the care of Dr. Galen Breningstall, a Gillette neurologist, for more than 3 years. The medication he’s prescribed has helped reduce the severity and the duration of Maya’s seizures, leaving her more time to play, learn, and just be a kid.

An EEG at Gillette maps Maya’s brain waves, helping doctors better understand her seizures.

While there’s still work to be done — Maya’s epilepsy is among the most complex cases Dr. Breningstall has seen — the Brulls know he’s committed to helping their daughter live life to the fullest. “He is just wonderful,” says Mark. “If he hasn’t heard from us in a week, he’ll send an email. He’ll email us back on Sundays. And if he has a new idea, a new medication to try, he’ll contact us right away.” 

Click here to see KSTP-TV’s story on Maya.

On Feb. 23, Support Kids at Gillette by Eating Pancakes!

Posted On: 02/16/2010


A steaming stack of buttermilk pancakes is just the thing to chase winter blues away.  And on Tuesday, Feb. 23, you’ll have a great reason to enjoy the tasty breakfast treat—it’s IHOP National Pancake Day!  


So, how does National Pancake Day work? It’s simple: stop by your neighborhood IHOP between 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. to enjoy a FREE short stack of buttermilk pancakes courtesy of Children’s Miracle Network sponsor IHOP.  For every short stack your family enjoys, you’re invited to make a donation to Gillette.


Not sure where your nearest IHOP restaurant is? Visit to find out.

Gillette Clinic Reveals Disorder Behind Excessive Sleep

Posted On: 02/11/2010

Arianna Hall is a bubbly and energetic 6-year-old who’s at the top of her kindergarten class.  But just last fall, Arianna’s personality was quite the opposite — sleepy, sluggish and withdrawn.  “She needed an unusual amount of sleep. And even after a full night’s rest, she would always be tired during the day,” says her mom, Jessi.  As Arianna’s excessive sleepiness continued and she began to fall behind in school, the family turned to Gillette for answers.  Pediatric sleep specialist John Garcia, M.D., ordered an overnight sleep study for Arianna — with surprising results.

Click here to see how Gillette’s sleep health clinic helped this “suddenly sleepy” little girl.

Today, Arianna is wide-awake during the day. And at school, she’s making up for lost time. “I have my daughter back!” exclaims Jessi Hall.


Transforming the Hill – Through the Lens of Gillette’s CEO

Posted On: 02/10/2010

What snow?  Our wintery weather hasn’t stopped construction crews from making visible progress on Gillette’s new outpatient care building, to be located across the street from our existing St. Paul hospital. This week, crews drilled the final steel cables into our hillside. These cables, called tie-backs, help protect our new building from the hill above. That’s right—our new building will, essentially, be built into a hillside!

There’s no one more excited about our expansion project than Margaret Perryman, Gillette president and CEO. And for good reason:  she has a direct view of the construction site from her office window. Beginning with our groundbreaking last fall, Margaret has taken a hands-on approach to our expansion.  Since then, she’s made sure to capture weekly progress with her own digital camera. 

CEO Photo of the Week

So much has changed since last fall,” remarked Margaret this week. “When I look outside my window, I think of the thousands of children who will benefit from our enhanced space.”

Margaret isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty — literally! Shovels in hand, she and two Gillette patients broke ground on our new building in October 2009.

Be sure to check back next week for another photo from Margaret.  And to see what’s happening on our hillside right now, click here.

Collect Change, Win Tickets to a Private Party with KS95

Posted On: 02/08/2010

There’s less than two weeks left to collect your dollars and cents for the KS95 for Kids Change for Kids program. Thinking about joining in the fun? Here’s a great reason to get started:  raise just $95 and you’ll earn two tickets to an exclusive KS95 party at Mall of America’s Nickelodeon Universe on Sunday, March 7th. The more change you collect, the more free tickets you’ll earn!

Don’t wait to start collecting.  The deadline for turning in your change is fast approaching on Sunday, February 21st. For more information on change collection, the private Nickelodeon Universe party — and to find out how many tickets to the party YOU could receive — click here.

Thank you for your support. And Happy Collecting!


Posted On: 02/04/2010

Here at Gillette, we’re in the midst of a major expansion project to enhance the care and services we provide to our patients. By now, you’ve surely noticed the equipment, construction crews and activity taking place on our hillside — not to mention truckloads of dirt being removed to make way for our new patient-care building.

With construction of our new building moving ahead, it’s time to shift our focus — to the glass skyway that will cross University Avenue, connecting the hospital with our new space. On Saturday, Feb. 6, the right eastbound lane of University Avenue will close while crews pour the concrete foundation needed to support the skyway.

So, just how much concrete will crews pour into our foundation?  About 50 cubic yards — that’s equal to more than 200,000 pounds!

The concrete foundation, to be located mere feet from our existing hospital, will eventually support the entire south end of the skyway! (The north end of the skyway will be supported by our new building).

Once complete, the all-glass skyway will connect our hospital with the new patient care building we’re constructing across the street.

Gillette Supporters, We Need Your Help!

Posted On: 02/04/2010

Tell Your Minnesota State Representative That You Support Gillette—And Urge Them To Do The Same.

In early February, Minnesota legislators unveiled bonding bills that would support various state programs and services.  Funding to support a much-needed expansion of Gillette’s surgical facilities was originally slated to be part of this bill. Unfortunately, while this funding was included in the Senate bonding bill, our project is currently not included in the House version of the bill.

Will you help us by contacting your Minnesota State Representative? Tell them how important Gillette is to you and your family—and that you hope to see Gillette included in a revised version of the bill.

Don’t wait. They need to hear from you in the next week.  Please contact your Minnesota House and Senate Representative today! Click here to find your local representatives.

A Unique Service in High Demand

Did you know that, currently, Gillette has only two surgical suites that are able to accommodate the complex, multi-specialty surgeries that so many of our patients need? And that we’ve seen a 135 percent increase in demand for surgery in recent years, performing more than 3,300 surgeries in 2009?

Just think how many more children we could serve if all of our operating rooms were able to accommodate the specialized surgeries our patients need. Show your support for Gillette — contact your local representative and urge them to support this project!

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