Thankfully, most will never experience the trauma of sexual
assault. But, for those who do, the trauma often continues beyond
the actual assault.
ETMC Gilmer hopes to ease the trauma for sexual assault
survivors in Upshur and surrounding counties beginning Feb. 1 when
the hospital initiates its sexual assault nurse examiner program.
The SANE program in Gilmer eliminates the need for survivors to
travel for miles to be seen by medical professionals specially
trained to provide the care and treatment they need and to properly
collect evidence needed by law enforcement.
"Over the past several years, we have seen the incidence of
sexual assault increase in Upshur, Wood and surrounding counties,"
said Jorge Leal, FACHE, administrator at ETMC Gilmer. "We often see
these survivors in our emergency department. Our team members have
watchedthese men, women and children wait and then be transported
to Longview or farther to be treated, prolonging their trauma. We
saw the need to provide this care locally and we determined to do
something to improve the situation."
Four registered nurses at ETMC Gilmer-Shirlina Lucas, RN, SANE
coordinator; Jodi Jones, RN, trauma/stroke coordinator; Jan Loya,
RN; and Brandy May, RN--have completed the more than 240 hours of
coursework and clinical requirements needed to earn certification
from the state to conduct SANE exams for survivors of adult,
adolescent and pediatric sexual assault. The four received their
SANE certifications in January.
"The dedication needed to complete the SANE training is a
testimony to each nurse's personal commitment to helping sexual
assault survivors in our community," said Teri Curington, RN, MSN,
emergency department director at ETMC Gilmer. "Each of these nurses
has a proven track record of professional accomplishment and has proven herself in critical
At least one of the SANE nurses will be available to assist
sexual assault survivors 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Sexual
assault survivors, who present at ETMC hospitals in Pittsburg and
Quitman, will be seen and medically cleared by an emergency room
physician, then will make the short trip ETMC Gilmer where needed
equipment is available to complete the SANE exam.
ETMC Gilmer began laying the groundwork for the SANE program by
initiating the Upshur County Sexual Response Team, which consists
of 26 volunteers from Upshur, Wood and Camp county law enforcement
agencies, district attorneys' offices, child protective services,
the Women's Center of East Texas and the Northeast Texas Child
Advocacy Center. The SART is committed to prosecuting sexual
assault offenders and to working together to benefit and assist
sexual assault survivors.
One way the public can assist is to volunteer for the Hospital
Emergency Advocacy Response Team for ETMC Gilmer. The Women's
Center of East Texas is coordinating the program through which
volunteers receive training to provide comfort, support and
services to survivors of sexual assault, as well as their family
members who accompany them for treatment.
Volunteers determine their own time commitment to the program
and must pass a criminal background check. For more information on
HEART, contact the Women's Center of East Texas at
"ETMC Gilmer is proud to offer this much needed program," Leal
said. "By providing these services locally, sexual assault
survivors will no longer have to leave the area in order to receive
medical treatment and SANE examinations. We hope this will help
ease the process for them and set them on the road to healing."