In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

February 11, 2020

Special Delivery Across the Miles With Some Help From Technology

By In the Loop

Lizzie Stoltz was just 30 weeks pregnant when her water broke. She was rushed to a local hospital, where providers used technology to connect with a Mayo neonatologist for help with the high-risk delivery.


It wasn't April Fool's Day. Still, Shaun Stoltz was sure the call from his wife, Lizzie, was a joke. She was 30 weeks pregnant and had just told him that her water had broken. That couldn't be, Shaun thought. The baby wasn't due to arrive for more than two months.

But it was no joke. "I'm positive my water just broke," Lizzie told him, according to the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram. That's when reality set in. "We realized there no reversing this now," Lizzie tells the publication. "This is actually happening." And it was happening fast. So fast that Lizzie "needed an ambulance to get from her house to the nearest hospital just three minutes away," the Leader-Telegram reports.

As paramedics raced Lizzie to Mayo Clinic Health System – Chippewa Valley in Bloomer, Wisconsin, Physician Assistant Jon Farm was preparing for the unexpected arrival. His first order of business was to call in support. Because the hospital in Bloomer — population 3,500 — has "no labor and delivery service or a neonatal ICU," that support included Mayo Clinic's Teleneonatology Program. The program "can bring neonatology expertise to the bedside of any newborn in need of critical care," thanks to "a private and secure audio-video connection." Which meant that Christopher Collura, M.D., a Mayo Clinic neonatologist, was in the room — virtually — to guide Farm and Phillip Skaar, M.D., a family medicine physician, through a complex and high-risk delivery.

"The technology is really good," Dr. Collura tells the Leader-Telegram. "Short of us standing right there with the team, it's the next best thing." Dr. Skaar agrees. "It was literally like having a specialist looking over your shoulder," he tells the publication. "It was remarkable."

Remarkable and necessary. Because when Madelyn Grace Stoltz entered the world, she wasn't breathing. Farm "began resuscitation measures immediately," the Leader-Telegram reports. Dr. Collura directed his efforts, "taking the guesswork out of caring for such a premature newborn." The teamwork paid off: tiny Madelyn, tipping the scales at just 3 pounds, 10 ounces, responded well to the tender care. She was then transported by a Mayo One neonatal flight crew to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, where she would spend the first 44 days of her life. Mayo is "the best of the best," Papa Shaun tells the Leader-Telegram. "We're fortunate to have them so close."

Today, "Madelyn is thriving" at home, the Leader-Telegram reports. That's good news for her family — and for the team that helped ensure her happy homecoming. "It's the most amazing medical situation I've been involved with," Dr. Skaar tells the publication. "When I got home that night, it took a while to get to sleep. It was like, 'Wow, we really did some good today.' It was a great feeling."

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Tags: Dr. Christopher Collura, Dr. Phillip Skaar, Family Medicine, Jon Farm, Mayo Clinic Health System in Bloomer, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Mayo One, Patient Stories

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