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Forensic Nursing Program Provides Special Care for Sexual Assault Victims|
FORT WORTH, Texas — Victims of sexual assault in the Fort Worth area now have more places to turn for the comprehensive, compassionate care provided by a certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE).
The SANE program at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth — which includes eight registered nurses specially-trained in medical forensic care on-call 24 hours daily — is one of two programs in Tarrant County. Judy Horton, director of the hospital’s emergency department, identified the need two years ago after a number of emergency room patients needed specialized SANE care on top of treatment for critical injuries and had to be transported.
“As a major trauma center that receives patients from all over North Texas, we established the SANE program in order to offer the full gamut of services to our patients and eliminate the need to transport these victims to another facility,” Horton said. “It’s difficult for them to seek help in the first place. Equipping ourselves to treat them here is the right thing to do.”
Every two minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. A SANE-certified nurse serves victims by quickly and sensitively performing a physical exam and collecting evidence that can be used for prosecution. For Jaime Ramsey, nurse supervisor of Texas Health Fort Worth’s program, becoming a certified SANE means helping law enforcement do their job to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“The evidence we collect from sexual assault examinations is all that these victims have to speak for them in court,” Ramsey said.
To help support victims across all of North Texas, The Joe M. and Doris R. Dealey Family Foundation has pledged a $100,000 challenge grant to expand the SANE program throughout the Texas Health Resources system. Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Kaufman currently offer SANE programs.
“Texas Health's SANE initiative and the involvement of local law enforcement agencies will help make North Texas a safer place by advocating for victims and by extension saying this criminal behavior is unacceptable in our society and within our communities,” said Joe M. Dealey Jr., president of the Joe M. and Doris R. Dealey Family Foundation.
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For more information about Texas Health Resources, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org.