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Gilbertson's need for blood confirms value of donations

Gary Gilbertson of Beldenville was the recipient of a large amount of blood following a farming accident in 2008 in which his skull was cracked open. The American Red Cross Bloodmobile will return to Zion Covenant Church in Ellsworth on Jan. 13, 2014. (Herald photo by Bill Kirk)

BELDENVILLE—Gary Gilbertson of Beldenville is a living example of how others’ blood donations can help someone in need.

Gilbertson received a large quantity of blood after a September 2008 farming accident in which his skull was cracked open. The public will again have an opportunity to donate blood when the American Red Cross Bloodmobile returns to Zion Covenant Church in Ellsworth on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014.

The self-described hobby farmer, who used to raise beef, pigs and chickens on his acreage in the Town of River Falls, was working by a brush line, trying to break a limb with the bucket on a tractor, he said Thursday.

“I saw it was rolling and I thought I could stop it with the raised bucket,” he said about the limb. Instead, it flew over the tractor and hit him in the head, he explained.

His wife, Carol, eventually found him because she’d heard the tractor running when she came home, then later realized it had stopped and he wasn’t around, she said. Despite the injured skull, he wasn’t unconscious, telling upon her arrival how cold he was. A friend of the couple’s who was helping them out at the time called the River Falls Ambulance Service.

Transported to Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Gilbertson spent three-and-a-half weeks there, his spouse said. She was aware he’d lost a lot of blood, though not knowing exactly how much.

“They couldn’t get the blood vessels in his brain to stop bleeding,” she said of the surgeons who operated on her husband. There were some tense moments before they finally realized success after four hours.

Her mate was on a ventilator the rest of the time he was at the hospital and when he was transferred to Bethesda Hospital in the Twin Cities, she said. He was ultimately to be taken off of it there, besides having a shunt installed due to a fluid build-up on his brain. In March of 2009, he went to the Veterans Administration Hospital in the Cities, recovering until July of that year.

“He was in hospitals for nine-and-a-half months,” she said.

For more please read the Dec. 11 print version of the Herald. 

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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