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Published on January 30, 2020

We all need to reach out to others - Love + Medicine

Medical assistant steps in to help mother in need

Patient Jessica Hendrickson received the care she needed from Gundersen and it wasn't delivered in an exam room.

She woke ill one morning days after she underwent a partial hysterectomy. Jessica visited Gundersen's Tomah Clinic with her 2-year-old daughter in tow.

"Maryam also was sick, and I didn't want to send her to daycare," she says.

Jessica left the doctor's office exhausted with a confirmed case of strep throat.

"On the way to the Pharmacy for medication, we came around the corner by the children's area and an employee was reading books to a little girl," Jessica says. "I think she could see that I wasn't feeling well."

That employee is Laurna Keith, MA, Family Medicine, who was voluntarily watching the child while her mother and sibling visited a doctor. Sensing Jessica needed a reprieve, Laurna invited Maryam to join the reading circle.

"With the hysterectomy, I couldn't carry my daughter wherever I needed her to be. I had very little control and very little will to make her listen," Jessica says. "Laurna's kindness reading to my daughter so that I could sit and rest before the drive home was absolutely what I needed. This sick and tired mom really appreciated her that day."

Laurna knows that any offer to help someone who isn't feeling well is appreciated. That's how she was raised, she says, and what led her into medicine.

"We all need to reach out to others whenever we can," Laurna says. "The next time it might be you."

At Gundersen, you'll find providers like Laurna willing to deliver unexpected levels of care.

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

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