SAN MARCOS, Texas -- A San Marcos hospital has partnered with the Hays-Caldwell Women's Center to provide sexual abuse examinations. The hope is to provide patients an easier time getting answers in a tough situation.
Before this partnership with Central Texas Medical Center, patients would have to travel to neighboring cities in order to be tested. Now, a specialized team of nurses can provide exams at the hospital and at the Women's Center.
"These examinations would be on children who are victims of sexual assault, whether it's happened years ago in the past or in recent weeks or months. We are able to go and perform examinations on these kids," said Moira Foley, a sexual assault nurse examiner.
The victim is now able to receive these tests by a specialized nurse at the local children's advocacy center, called Roxanne's House.
"We do a thorough exam from history to physical exam and STD testing if we need to. And the family is involved with that care," said Noella Hill, a sexual assault nurse examiner.
Acute exams for recent assaults are done using rape kits, and chronic exams for assaults that happened past the 120-hour window are done using a urine sample or swab.
"Nurses like Noella are able to go in and perform these exams on the children at a time that works not just for her, but for the families, so we can fit it in to their schedules," Foley said.
Hospital staff said this makes it an easier process for everyone involved.
"When they come to the advocacy center, they're starting that healing process and so that gets them to know that they're not by themselves, they're not alone, there's a big team of people that actually want to help them through the process and get them through there," Hill said.
After exams, children and non-offending family members can receive trauma-focused counseling through Roxanne's House. Last year, 399 children were served.