Officials with Tulane Health System and the Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office today dedicated a new suite at Tulane Lakeside Hospital that provides specialized care for victims of sexual assault and sexually oriented crimes.
The new area, which allows patients to be treated in a calm, private space outside the emergency department, is the latest enhancement to the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program administered through a partnership of coroner’s office and Tulane Health System.
“Sexual assault is an all-too-common occurrence that affects both victims and their families and support systems,” said Jefferson Parish Coroner Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich. “We recognize the need to help sexual assault victims right away and begin the healing process. The SANE program and this dedicated space at Tulane Lakeside are important aspects of a holistic approach to these victims’ care.”
In Louisiana, each parish’s coroner or his or her designee is required to examine all alleged victims of a sexually oriented criminal offense. The Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office designated Tulane Lakeside Hospital as the site of the parish’s first and only SANE program, which provides these one-on-one, confidential services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
SANE-certified nurses undergo more than 100 hours of rigorous classroom and clinical training to provide them the unique sensitivities and skills required to treat sexual assault victims. SANE providers also receive specialized training in conducting forensic exams, collecting evidence, providing effective courtroom testimony and coordinating sexual assault advocacy efforts in the community.
“I am proud that we were selected to help provide these vital services to our community,” said Dr. William Lunn, Tulane Health System’s president and CEO. “We strive to create healing environments for all our patients, and we certainly recognize the need for an enhanced level of compassion, tranquility and privacy for sexual assault victims.
“We are grateful to Dr. Cvitanovich and his team for their partnership and support, and we are grateful for the SANE providers for the extremely challenging – and extremely important – work they do.”
While sexual assault victims can report to any emergency room, Tulane Lakeside is Jefferson Parish’s only designated SANE facility for victims age 15 and older. (Victims age 14 and younger should report to the emergency room of Children’s Hospital New Orleans.)
“It is truly a community effort to provide these services to sexual assault patients, from the SANE providers themselves to the healthcare facilities and staff to emergency responders to law enforcement. We thank everyone for their efforts and cooperation,” Dr. Cvitanovich said. “And we thank the Jefferson Parish community – without their support, these and so many other vital, publicly-funded services would not be possible.”
For more information about the SANE program – and what to do if you or someone you know is the victim of a sexual assault – please visit TulaneLakeside.com. For more information about the Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office and other community resources available to sexual assault victims, please visit JPCoroner.com.