Rape victim turned away from Fredericton emergency room

A rape victim turned away at Fredericton emergency room

The woman presented to the emergency department of the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton.

A Fredericton woman is still in shock after going to the local hospital emergency room for a forensic examination after a sexual assault and being told to schedule an appointment the next day.


She was told that no nurse qualified from the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program was on site or on call that evening to conduct the examination at the 'Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital.

The 26-year-old victim, whose identity has not been released, said he was told to go home in the middle of the night, not to shower or change and to use the bathroom as little as possible, to help preserve any evidence.

“I really didn't want to have to preserve my body as it was for another 12 hours. I felt like I was being asked to keep this experience. That I could feel it on me. »

— The victim

She called the police for advice on what she could do. It wasn't until an officer intervened that the hospital called a nurse to help, she said.

No woman who was raped should never be told to come back the next day for help after working up the courage to ask for help, victim pleads.

A sexual assault forensic examination kit.

She decided to talk about her experience, she adds, to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else.

The assault took place in August, over the New Brunswick Day long weekend, when she went on a date with a man she had met online.

She got home around 10:30 p.m. and decided to call the Fredericton Police Department to ask what she should do when she saw all that blood.

< p class="e-p">The agent she spoke to recommended that she go to the hospital to get checked out, although that was ultimately her choice.

He also mentioned to her that she could get a forensic kit to collect evidence in case she decides to press charges against the man.

“The policeman told me I shouldn't have to wait long. The words he used were that they treat this as seriously as if you had a gunshot wound.

—The Victim

The woman waited anxiously in the emergency waiting room at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital. A nurse eventually brought her to the triage area and began asking routine questions.

I interrupted her and told her I was there for a rape kit.

The nurse then took her to a quiet room with a door, where she could be alone, while they contacted a nurse from the program Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE program).

After about 15-20 minutes, she was able to speak on the phone with a program nurse who told her she was very brave to come.

However, no one He was on call until 8 p.m. the following evening, the program representative said, but she was willing to travel to take the exam herself the next morning.

Knowing there might have been help available and no one around, it was hard to hear, the woman recalled. And I was kind of in shock to make an appointment to see someone for this trauma.

“I wanted really it's over. And being asked to wait until the next day was like asking me to continue having this experience for 12 more hours, like it was like a cold that I could deal with tomorrow.

—The Victim

She adds that she was surprised that the hospital did not offer her to stay.

She then called the police shortly after 1 a.m., from her car in the parking lot.

“When I spoke to the police [the first time] they said it was a big deal, that she would be treated as such and that I would get the medical care I needed.

—The Victim

The victim spoke to the same officer, who she said was very surprised to learn that she had been sent home without any treatment. It shouldn't have happened to you, he would have told her.

His police partner was also surprised, so much so that he went straight to the hospital to meet her and then talk to the nurses.

Sexual assault victim says Fredericton police cooperated with his demands.< /p>

He told her that if no one was available at Chalmers Hospital that night, they might have to drive to hospitals in Oromocto or Woodstock. According to the victim, the police officer assured her that he would find a place where she could be seen.

No one at Chalmers Hospital had mentioned to him that other options existed.

After about 30 minutes, the officer came out to tell him that the hospital Chalmers had called a nurse and that she would be arriving shortly.

I am very grateful that the police were able to find someone… to help me that night, confides- she.

Margaret Melanson, Acting President and CEO of Horizon Health Network, has confirmed that she is aware of this situation.

My thoughts are certainly with the victim at this time , she says in an email.

With respect to the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program, it is standard of practice that if an in-person examination cannot be completed immediately, then the patient has the option of returning home to an environment where there can be support, rather than waiting in the ER, Melanson said.

Horizon Health Network Acting President and CEO Margaret Melanson

In these situations, and in accordance with program protocols, patients will be provided with information on how to preserve any evidence until an evidence collection kit can be administered in person by the program nurse on duty. . This is usually done as soon as the nurse is available, often no later than the next day, she continued.

The program is offered in 12 of the province's 23 hospitals. , only those open 24 hours a day. But SANE nurses can go to other hospitals.

About 80 nurses in New Brunswick have received special training taking into account the trauma to treat survivors of sexual violence and use sexual assault evidence kits.

Roxanne Paquette, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program Coordinator for Horizon and Vitalité networks, did not respond to an interview request.

Based on a report by Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon, by CBC

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