RHINELANDER - Doctors with a particular specialty can be hard to find here in the Northwoods.
For patients having a stroke, that can be a scary thought.
Rhinelander's Bill Roesler woke up to a normal day in late March.
He got up, did some chores, made coffee, and let the dog out.
"I did what I usually do, I went and laid back in bed, laying on my back. All of a sudden, the whole arm just went numb. Just instantaneously," Roesler says. "Then when the left leg didn't start - wasn't cooperating, was dragging - I knew that something was wrong."
It was a stroke.
Bill's wife rushed him to the Emergency Room at Ministry St. Mary's in Rhinelander.
Within 10 minutes, Bill had taken the preliminary stroke tests.
But there was no stroke expert scheduled at that time.
So he became the first-ever Rhinelander patient to use TeleStroke.
"We'll then start using the camera and start asking the patient to do certain things. We'll start examining them, and see if the clinical signs we're seeing on the camera correlate to the ischemic stroke process," says Neurologist / Neurointensivist Dr. Jesse Corry.
Over a video connection, Corry in Marshfield determined Bill needed medication administered in Rhinelander right away.
He also needed to come to Ministry St. Joseph's in Marshfield.
That's where he got the full stroke treatment and now is back to feeling well.
But if Bill had needed to travel all the way to Marshfield before seeing a specialist, things might have turned out differently.
"Here in a northern community, up here there are smaller hospitals, nobody around here has a neurologist on staff 24/7, to have a big hospital like Marshfield, have this available," says Roesler. "It's the medicine of the future."
Bill will again become a pioneer in this TeleStroke technology with his follow-up and recovery going forward.