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Published on May 13, 2019

teddy bear with cast

A helping paw

X-ray technologist examines teddy bear to calm patient

Macey Ambort was suffering from a fractured right hand and nerves before her appointment at Gundersen Tomah Clinic last year.

In tow was Teddy, a stuffed bear she's loved since her mother bought it on vacation years ago. He's a constant companion and source of comfort for Macey, who is 27 and has autism.

"Teddy is her life," says her mother, Patty Ambort, of Tomah.

Macey was due for a follow-up X-ray in November after fracturing her hand. At the appointment, Carla Dodsworth, ARRT, Radiology, recognized the unfamiliar experience made Macey anxious.

x-ray with teddy bear paw in corner

"Right before the X-ray, Macey grabbed Teddy's paw and put it on the X-ray plate," Patty recalls. "I told her, 'No, no.' But the tech right away said, 'That's just fine,' and asked Macey if she should X-ray Teddy's paw also."

"It was like she's done that every day," says Patty, smiling.

When the X-ray developed, the round outline of Teddy's paw appeared in the lower left corner of the black and white image of Macey's injured hand.

"I was shocked, with a giggle on the side," Carla says. "I would never have thought that the outline of the paw and stuffing would show up."

"We all thought it was pretty cool," Patty says.

Carla's willingness to incorporate Teddy, Patty says, eased Macey's nerves and provided comfort.

"It gave her a sense of security – probably even more than me right there next to her," Patty says.

Macey and Teddy recovered in matching black splints decorated with plastic jewels, but the family hasn't forgotten the extra measure of care from Carla.

Says Carla, "It's the little things that sometimes make the big difference."

Every day, throughout the many locations that make up Gundersen Health System, staff deliver world-class care plus a little something extra – we call this Love + Medicine. If this story inspires you to share a story of your own go to

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