Angela Sawyer, medical assistant, Aurora Advanced Healthcare

Angela Sawyer is a shining example of humility and compassion when it comes to patient care. She has touched the lives of many in her work as a medical assistant at Aurora Advanced Health Center in Hartford, but she has had a profound effect on one 17-year-old patient with multiple sclerosis.

According to Brad Kruger, administrator at Aurora Advanced Healthcare, who nominated Sawyer to be a Health Care Hero, Donnie was diagnosed with MS when she was 15-years-old. Her fear of needles prevented her from receiving her weekly Avonex injections at home, which is standard protocol for the treatment.

“Everyone in the clinic went into action to find a better way for her,” Kruger said. “Donnie’s nurse practitioner and the clinic manager went to battle with the insurance company to convince them to cover the injections in the clinic. The pharmacists jumped through hoops to get the medication stocked in the pharmacy.”

Sawyer is the kind of caregiver who believes that every encounter can be a positive experience and that every patient should feel safe and comfortable, Kruger said.

“By asking questions and using humor, she whittled away at Donnie’s nervousness and the two established a relationship,” Kruger said.

Sawyer made sure her schedule coincided with Donnie’s appointments and their five minute appointments started to take longer.

Donnie wrote Sawyer a letter for her English class. In it, she explained how she used to hate Monday’s but with Sawyer’s help the day quickly became her favorite and that because of Sawyer she is a more positive and upbeat person.

“The most memorable moment I can think of is when you became my nurse,” Donnie said in her letter. “When I’m having an off-day you make me cheer up.”

Sawyer’s commitment to patient care has taught Kruger more about compassionate care and the additional time given to patients in need.

“It has truly inspired me,” Kruger said.

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