Avita Ontario Hospital Starts Forensic Program

ONTARIO – Avita Health System has announced that Ontario Hospital will implement its new Forensic Program on December 1. The Forensic Program will provide medical screenings and forensic exams to individuals for sexual assault and abuse, child abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking, strangulation and other criminal offenses.

“Every two minutes, someone in the United States is sexually assaulted” explained Dr. Anthony Midkiff, Medical Director of Avita’s Forensic Program. “And every 10 seconds, a report of child abuse is made. As a new hospital, it’s important for us to be proactive in offering specialized medical services to individuals who have experienced these crimes. We are often their first-line of support.”

Avita’s forensic services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in a private, dedicated room in Ontario Hospital’s Emergency Department. These services are available to individuals of all ages and genders, and there is no charge for a medical forensic exam.

In addition to the 24/7 emergency care, Avita’s Forensic Coordinator, Tammy Robertson, RN, BSN, will also be available Monday-Friday from 8am-4pm to access individuals who have been victims of chronic sexual abuse. Robertson joins Avita with 18 years of experience as an emergency room nurse and 10 years of experience as a sexual assault nurse examiner.

“We want patients of physical and sexual abuse to know that Ontario Hospital is a safe place,” explained Robertson. “Our program is focused on the needs of our patients, and our staff are trained to handle these sensitive situations. To us, patients always come first.”

Ontario Hospital has almost a dozen nurses in the emergency department who have undergone specialized training to perform adult and pediatric forensic exams on patients who present as victims of acute sexual assault and abuse.

It is recommended that individuals 15 years of age and younger have a forensic exam within 72 hours after an incident has occurred and that individuals 16 years and older have an exam within 96 hours. Anyone who has experienced a sexual assault should try to refrain from showering, urinating, brushing teeth, smoking, eating, drinking, or changing clothing prior to the exam. While the acute window is 72-96 hours, Robertson will see patients any time after an abuse or assault, even months later for pediatric patients.

For more information on the Forensic Program at Avita Ontario Hospital, contact Tammy Robertson, RN, BSN at 567-560-3649.