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Rural Clinics Increasingly Turn to Telemedicine

June 6, 2014 | Telepresence Options

telemedicine_Wagner

Story and images by Regina Garcia Cano / The Big Story

WAGNER, S.D. (AP) -- Fifty years in farming had given Tom Soukup a few brushes with his own mortality, but after a cow pinned him against a wall, death felt closer than ever. He lay on the muddy ground and began to pray, every gasp feeling like a stab to the chest.

Although the nearest clinic was just a 10-minute drive from Soukup's South Dakota ranch, the doctor on duty did not have much experience treating such injuries. He had rarely inserted chest tubes and wanted guidance from another physician without having to consult a medical reference book.

So the clinic in tiny Wagner connected by video to doctors in Sioux Falls, who talked him through the steps to stop the bleeding and drain the blood collecting inside the 72-year-old man back in March 2010.

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