Blog
Apr 27
Blog: Getting Medical Attention After an Assault

A sexual assault can happen at any time to anyone of any age. It is never your fault. Your well-being is most important, and as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we'd like to spread the word about Saratoga Hospital's Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program.

"As coordinator of our Sexual Assualt Nurse Examiner program, I want our patients to know we are here for them," says Michelle Pasquarell, BS, RN, CEN, NYSAFE. "If you experience a sexual assault and come to our emergency department, your care comes first. You don't have to call the police; you don't even have to have a sexual assault exam. It's completely your call. We'll take care of any cuts and bruises, administer STD prophylaxis, offer emergency contraception, call whomever you wish, and make sure you receive the compassionate, immediate care you need."

SANE

Saratoga Hospital's SANE program is made up of certified and specially trained professionals that can provide emergency care and consultations 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With your permission, they can collect evidence which can be stored for years, giving you time to decide whether or not you want to use it. The SANE care professionals can test you for pregnancy and provide you with antibiotics against sexually transmitted diseases. They can examine you for unseen injuries and refer you to local programs and counselors who can help make sure you are safe and help you turn your world right-side up again.

What to Expect

Our SANE program at Saratoga Hospital follows New York State guidelines and is comprised of reigstered nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants specifically trained to care for a patient who has been sexually assaulted. With this program, patients can expect:

  • Care offered in a nonjudgmental, safe, and confidential environment.
  • Decision-making control placed in the hands of the patient every step of the way.
  • Trained nurses who are equipped to care for both adolescent and adult patient survivors, and soon pediatric survivors, as well.
  • Access to medical forensic care guided 24/7 by a sexual assault nurse examiner in person or through telemedicine services.
  • Coordination with rape crisis services at Wellspring to ensure the patient has access to the continued care and emotional support they need following an assault.

Perhaps most important is that the patient is in complete control. The patient decides whether or not to file a police report. The patient decides which part, if any, of the exam they consent to undergo. A patient may choose minimal care, including being checked for injuries and receiving medications, which can include antibiotics, birth control, or STD and HIV treatments. Our SANE team will provide guidance in all of these areas, and the patient will make the final decision. Day or night, the patient will receive the same level of quality nursing care for which Saratoga Hospital is so well known.

Be Prepared

"Hopefully, people will share this information throughout the community," Michelle says, "so everyone will know this program is available. I have provided care for survivors from all walks of lifesome with master's degrees, some living in homeless shelters, some who are college students, some who were just coming home from a concertand their cases were all so different. Some were attacked by strangers, and many others knew their attackers from their own social circles. Hopefully, it will never happen to you, but it is a good idea to know what your resources are, just in case, and make sure your friends and family know about these programs, too."

If you are in immediate danger or experiencing a potentially life-threatening injury, please call 9-1-1.

To receive SANE or other emergency services, please visit or call the Alfred Z. Solomon Emergency Center at Saratoga Hospital, 518-583-8313, or your nearest emergency department.

For additional sexual assault and domestic violence services in Saratoga Springs, contact Wellspring's confidential hotline, 24/7, at 518-584-8188. The National Sexual Assault Hotline is 1-800-656-4673. The New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault provides this statewide map to help locate your local rape crisis program. 


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