With Roads Closed, Oshkosh Doctor Skis to Hospital in Winter Storm

BayCare Clinic ER Dr. Daniel Gale skis to Aurora Medical Center in Oshkosh after record-breaking amount of snow shut down roads.
BayCare Clinic ER Dr. Daniel Gale skis to Aurora Medical Center in Oshkosh after record-breaking amount of snow shut down roads.

Just about everyone has some kind of story about how they survived the huge late-December winter storm.

But one Oshkosh man may have one of the best tales we’ve heard.

He had no choice but to get to work, so he did it in the most unconventional way.

Despite a record-breaking snowfall, there are a few places that simply don’t shut down.

An emergency room is definitely one of those.

So when BayCare Clinic Dr. Daniel Gale looked outside Tuesday morning, he knew it was going to be an extraordinary day.

“I got up early, shoveled the sidewalk and driveway, and it was pretty clear I wasn’t going to get anywhere past that,” says Gale, a BayCare Clinic emergency medicine physician at Aurora Medical Center in Oshkosh.

With roads snowed shut and no plows in sight, he opted for the next best mode of transportation — his cross country skis.

“I’ve got to get here somehow, and it’s that or I had walk for a mile and a half up to my knees, so skiing was a lot faster at that point,” laughs Gale.

He piled his gear in a backpack and set off for the hospital, about a mile and a half away.

“I got a lot of funny looks from people shoveling out their driving, wondering what I was doing skiing down the middle of the road,” he says.

But Dr. Gale didn’t think much of it. He’s a competitive skier and actually snowshoed to medical school once after a big snowstorm in Vermont.

This trip took him about 20 minutes, but the smiles and laughs about skiing to the hospital have lasted all week.

“A lot of them said that made it worth the trip seeing me walk through the front door with skis in my hands. They were pretty tickled by it,” adds Gale.

His patients may never have known his dedication to get to work that morning if not for the one thing he left at home.

“Actually forgot to bring an extra set of boots when I got here, so I had to wear my ski boots around for half the day until everything was plowed out and my family dropped off a pair of regular shoes for me,” says Gale.

While it’s not ideal, the skiing doctor says he’d do it again in the next big storm, just to make sure his patients are taken care of and his fellow physicians get a break.

“Wasn’t that hard to do. It was a good warmup for the day,” he adds with a smile.

And it’s a good thing he skied into work.

The snow plow got stuck on his street twice that morning.

 

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