Thrive by IU Health

August 12, 2022

A sign of hope: Patient receives special gift after appointment

IU Health West Hospital

A sign of hope: Patient receives special gift after appointment

Avon Primary Care Physician Sofia Ligard, MD, and Medical Assistant Katherine Duncan were right where they needed to be when Gina Fisher walked into their office.

By Emma Packard, marketing associate,

When Gina Fisher stepped into an IU Health Physicians Family Medicine office in Avon, she didn’t have an appointment. She had recently started taking a new prescription medication that was making her feel off.

“I’d never felt like this. I didn’t feel normal,” she said. “I was just at my wits’ end.”

Fisher was struggling with anxiety and stress, but the medication enhanced those feelings.

Even without an appointment, Dr. Sofia Ligard, a primary care physician, was able to see Fisher, though she had never seen this patient before.

“My manager and I decided to add her to my schedule for the end of the morning as a double book,” Dr. Ligard explained. “Ideally, she would have been connected with emergent integrative behavioral services after talking to me for a few minutes. Both my manager and my medical assistant tried to get the IBT system working, but it wouldn’t. In the end, I ended up seeing Gina over lunch and we both came up with a plan for her care.” 

They spoke about the medication, but Dr. Ligard also asked about any recent stressors in Fisher’s life.

“She sat in front of me and said, ‘I want to know what’s going on in your life right now,’” Fisher recalled. “[Before Dr. Ligard,] I just felt like I wasn’t being heard or people didn’t understand. You get this fear to reach out for help.”

Fisher explained that she had been going through recent stressful personal situations. When Dr. Ligard had to step away for a moment, her medical assistant, Katherine Duncan, stepped in. The two bonded right away.

“My approach to connecting with patients is listening to them and showing interest in their needs and concerns,” Duncan said.

Duncan found out Fisher worked as a jeweler as they discussed her life.

When Dr. Ligard returned, she changed Fisher’s medication and wrapped up the appointment.

After a couple of weeks, Fisher returned for a follow up. When she arrived, Duncan had a special surprise for her. She made a sign that read “World’s Best Jeweler.” Fisher was shocked.

Gina Fisher and Katherine Duncan
Gina Fisher and Katherine Duncan, medical assistant

“The kindness was so over the top and so much more than you would ever expect to get going into a doctor’s office,” she said.

“I was very impressed by Katherine’s kindness by showing care for a patient on something like that certificate,” Dr. Ligard added.

Fisher carries the piece of paper with her every day in a folder she keeps inside her vehicle. She is doing much better on the new medication Dr. Ligard prescribed. She has found her new home with the primary care physician and will continue seeing her as an established patient.

“I feel like God put them [Duncan and Dr. Ligard] them there,” she said.

For Duncan, she tries to bring a little bit of kindness to every patient she sees because she knows the smallest gesture can make a big impact.

“I feel that helping others is a gift. Kindness goes a long way, and a smile can be life changing.”

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Sofia Y. Ligard, MD

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