HOSPITAL NURSES CARE FOR ASSAULT VICTIMS

by Christian Mower on April 13, 2012

APRIL IS NATIONAL SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH AND STARTING POINT – THE AGENCY IN CARROLL COUNTY THAT PROVIDES SERVICES FOR VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE – ENCOURAGES MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY TO DISCUSS SEXUAL ABUSE AS IT REACHES OUT TO VICTIMS TO OFFER SUPPORT, HOPE AND OPTIONS.

NORTH CONWAY’S MEMORIAL HOSPITAL PARTNERS WITH STARTING POINT TO ENSURE VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT ARE TREATED QUICKLY.

THE HOSPITAL IS ONE OF 19 IN NEW HAMPSHIRE STAFFED WITH A CERTIFIED SEXUAL ASSAULT NURSE EXAMINER (SANE) WHO IS TRAINED TO STANDARDS SET BY THE NEW HAMPSHIRE COALITION AGAINST DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE TO ENSURE VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT ARE TREATED APPROPRIATELY – AND TO COLLECT EVIDENCE OF THE CRIME THAT CAN BE USED TO PROSECUTE ASSAILANTS.

ADVANCED PRACTITIONER REGISTERED NURSE CHARISSE HIRSCHFELD IS ONE OF TWO NURSES AT MEMORIAL WHO IS TRAINED AS A SEXUAL ASSAULT NURSE EXAMINER.

A VICTIM WHO GOES TO MEMORIAL WILL BE EVALUATED FOR INJURIES THAT REQUIRE IMMEDIATE CARE BUT THE RAPE EXAM CAN BE PERFORMED ANONYMOUSLY AND THE PATIENT CAN REFUSE TO CONTINUE IT AT ANY TIME.

A STARTING POINT ADVOCATE WILL GO TO THE HOSPITAL TO BE WITH THE PATIENT.

IF THE PATIENT CONSENTS TO THE SEXUAL ASSAULT COLLECTION KIT, A NURSE LIKE HIRSCHFELD DOES A COMPLETE EXAM AND COLLECTS EVIDENCE. THE KIT IS THEN SEALED AND TURNED OVER TO POLICE.

HIRSCHFELD ALSO COUNSELS VICTIMS ABOUT VARIOUS MEDICAL CONCERNS. HER GOAL IS TO MINIMIZE THE VICTIM’S TRAUMA WHILE COLLECTING AND PRESERVING EVIDENCE OF THE ASSAULT.

STARTING POINT’S 24 HOUR TOLL-FREE HOTLINE IS 1-800-336-3795 AND ITS WEB SITE IS www.startingpoingnh.org. MEMORIAL HOSPITAL CAN BE REACHED AT (603) 356-5461.