UR Medicine Thompson Health receives a device that helps sexual assault nurse examiners

CANANDAIGUA — The Child Advocacy Center of the Finger Lakes recently purchased a new colposcope to improve the care the sexual assault nurses at UR Medicine Thompson Health provide to survivors, and especially to pediatric survivors.

Cristine Crawford, the coordinator of Thompson’s sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) program, said the Mobile ODT EVA (Enhanced Visual Assessment) System is smaller than traditional scopes, is less intrusive for patients, and provides better quality photographs. In addition, the EVA System facilitates sharing of information with medical providers and law enforcement if indicated.

Thompson’s previous colposcope, donated by the Ontario County District Attorney’s Office several years ago, had become outdated and unusable, according to Crawford, one of three Thompson nurses trained as a SANE and taking calls. Two additional nurses are currently in training.

Thompson became designated as a "Sexual Assault Center of Excellence" by New York state in 2006. According to Crawford, there are only 44 centers in the state, and most are located downstate. There are two in Monroe County but none in Seneca, Yates, Wayne or Livingston counties, so many sexual assault victims from those counties are treated at Thompson. Some are sent from other hospitals and some come to Thompson as the result of formal agreements with Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva and New York Chiropractic College in Seneca Falls.

“The work of the sexual assault nurse examiners, and the comfort they provide survivors, has been invaluable,” said Ontario County District Attorney Jim Ritts.

Time and again Ritts said he is impressed by the compassion these nurses show as they make sure there is a holistic approach to the examinations while securing important forensic evidence.

"This has provided the evidence needed to prosecute the worst offenders, and also helped make sure the survivors are in a safe place emotionally so that they can be a strong voice in the journey from victim to survivor, as well as in court,” Ritts said.

Ritts serves on the advisory committee of the Child Advocacy Center, which approached Thompson in 2013 to see if Thompson would be willing to collaborate because there was a need in the community for providers trained to see children. Two Thompson nurses took the pediatric training and started seeing pediatric patients on a limited basis in 2014.

“We typically see 30 to 35 patients per year, but the number of children seems to be increasing,” Crawford said. “By seeing the children here at Thompson, we save the families a trip to Rochester and are able to coordinate services for the family with the Child Advocacy Center so that the entire multidisciplinary team can meet together and the child won't have to repeat their story multiple times to various agencies. ”

Ritts said because of their work with children, Thompson’s SANEs are now providing an even more valuable service to the community.

“I am proud to work with the SANE staff and look forward to years of collaboration,” he said.