Why Are Dallas Hospitals Short on Treatment for Rape Victims?

Categories: Healthcare

sanedallas.jpg
Dallas County District Attorney's Office
Dallas Police Chief David Brown and District Attorney Craig Watkins celebrated the opening of the first ever Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program in southern Dallas at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.
Local officials had a big celebration last month when a hospital in southern Dallas finally started offering forensic exams for rape victims.

"Unfortunately, Dallas has a perceived -- and maybe a real -- impression that individuals from the southern sector don't receive services like those in the north," Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins said at a news conference. "This program gives us credibility. It gives us the ability to stand up ... and say, 'Because you're from South Dallas, you will be treated just as those individuals from North Dallas.'"

Yet advocates say that even the victims in the north haven't been treated all that great, dealing with sparse services and hospitals that aren't sure where to direct victims who need help.

Getting a rapist behind bars in the United States is already notoriously difficult. For victims who want to give it a try, one of the first steps is visiting a hospital to undergo a forensic examination, often referred to as a "rape-kit test."

A trained doctor or nurse examines the victim, testing for DNA samples, body trauma and other evidence of the attack, then stores it all in a kit that might be helpful if there's ever a trial. (Assuming it's not one of the thousands of kits that will be stuck in backlog).

Originally, out all of Dallas' 47 hospitals, only Parkland's physicians were qualified to perform rape-kit exams. Then, a few years ago, the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital became the second hospital in Dallas to offer the exams, under a popular national program that trains nurses to conduct the tests, called the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner initiative, or SANE.

Still, advocates say that Dallas has been the largest city in the country with only one SANE program.

That finally changed this year, when the Methodist Dallas Medical Center recently announced that it would also offer the exams under the SANE program.

"This is actually the first time that rape kits have been available in South Dallas," says Courtney Underwood, the local advocate who has been lobbying the district attorney's office, the DPD and local hospitals to expand the SANE program.

So why isn't the SANE program more widely available in Dallas? Sure, it's expensive, but Dallas is swimming with rich people who like to host charity parties and give money to local hospitals. Underwood suspects that spending millions on rape-kit exams doesn't have same pizazz, as, for instance, buying a bunch of cool new MRI machines.

And though Watkins and Dallas police Chief David Brown have been publicly supportive of SANE, they can't force the hospitals to participate. "It is up to each individual hospital to decide to have [the] SANE program," says district attorney spokesman Debbie Denmon via email. "There is no law mandating this. Mr. Watkins does plan to support Underwood as she approaches other hospitals asking them to partake in the program."

State laws, however, have in fact been recently changed to force hospitals to offer rape-kit tests and training. Under SB 1191, which went into effect in September, any hospital with an emergency room must carry rape-kit tests and have physicians and nurses trained on how to use them. The forensic qualifications aren't as stringent as all of the requirements under SANE. (The Texas Hospital Association has argued that imposing SANE on every hospital would cost too much).

Still, under state law, every hospital in Dallas should in theory already be offering some sort of rape-kit exam, right? Not necessarily. There's no penalty outlined under SB 1191 for hospitals that don't comply.

"The majority of hospitals are still scrambling to meet the requirement, so the majority of hospitals still aren't following the new guidelines," Underwood adds via email, though she says SB 1191 is a decent start.

Another problem Underwood has seen in Dallas is that hospitals that don't offer the tests also aren't sure where to direct victims next -- and then send them to another hospital that also doesn't offer the exam. "A lot of the hospitals didn't know where to tell women to go," she says.

Asking individual hospitals what their current status is doesn't provide much clarity.

"We do in fact care for sexual assault victims in all of our facilities in accordance with Senate Bill 1191," a spokesman for the Baylor University Medical Center told Unfair Park, reading from a prepared statement. "We have more than 130 nurses across the Baylor health care system that are specially trained."

The spokesman couldn't confirm whether or not that means that rape-kit exams are in fact available at Baylor, explaining only that "everything is in accordance with the Senate bill."

For now, local activists are publicly directing assault victims to three hospitals -- Methodist, Parkland or Presby.

Send your story tips to the author, Amy Silverstein.


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53 comments
bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

The better question here is why the city council members representing South Dallas have failed to pursue, or even ask for, funding for such programs.

The answer, of course, is because it's the criminal element that has kept them in power thus far.


holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

On Tuesday no less than the Congressional Budget Office reported that the health law is causing Americans to work less or not at all, in a remarkable intellectual turnabout for the budget shop that Democrats cited repeatedly when selling ObamaCare. Now CBO—full of liberal-leaning economists—says the economy will lose the equivalent of two million full-time workers by 2017 and 2.5 million over the next decade, a threefold increase over its prior estimate.

casiepierce
casiepierce

Goddammit, I didn't realize that 37 comments in here amounted to 30 of them from libtard logic.......

ashleyboyter
ashleyboyter

Baylor in Irving does not do the rape kit, they refer you to Presby and advise you to stay away from Parkland

Every hospital should offer these services, you shouldn't have to go on a wild goose chase to find one that does... What the victims go through is bad enough

libtard_apologist
libtard_apologist

Why do blacks commit such an astoundingly disproportionate amount of rapes, Anna? I'm sure it has absolutely nothing to to with 50 years of your libtard media-Jew ilk coddling and apologizing for them.

libtard_apologist
libtard_apologist

Why do blacks commit such an astonishingly disproportionate amount of rapes?

You really have only your own naive "progressive" libtard policies to blame for this situation, Merlan.

Naive (or disingenuous) white-guilter media-Jews like you will do whatever you can to deny and ignore the facts staring you right in the face.

Enjoy the shitty "progressive" future you've worked so hard and wasted so much of your time to help create!

Hope you don't get raped! Remember "I TOLD YOU SO" though when it happens, as your own libtard blogger efforts have helped to increase that possibility of that happening by several orders of magnitude.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Chief Brown looks a bit pale in that photo.....

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Same reason there are thousands of untested rape kits in Dallas county evidence vaults.

Lazy assholes. And politicians who don't care.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Some of the blame has to be assigned to Obamacare.  When Obamacare was passed in 2010, advocacy groups hailed the law for its provisions aimed at domestic violence prevention, including the requirement that all new health plans must cover domestic violence screening and counseling.  Under current enrollment policies, victims who have left abusive relationships, even if they file taxes separately from a spouse, still are judged on total household income of the marriage. So if a victim flees and is trying to obtain health insurance coverage, she or he may actually be scraping by on a substantially smaller income yet not qualify for subsidies — and be mandated to buy a costly policy.   We must beg Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner to swiftly implement policies allowing victims of domestic abuse to access the level of tax credits they deserve even if there are obstacles to their ability to file joint tax returns.

You see, we now need to go to a bureaucrat in Washington D.C. in order to effect change across the street.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@holmantx

That has nothing to do with this story about rape kits.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@holmantx  If correct, please add this to the list. There are many necessary changes to the ACA that should be made in the coming years. Still, there's no need to trash the whole law because it needs fixes. As with other social programs of the past, such as Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, changes will be required. Lawmakers rarely get it right the first time around.

Guesty
Guesty

@holmantx  And how, pray tell, did Obamacare make the situation worse?  Or does Obamacare now get blamed for every ill it did not fix?

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@amy.silverstein @ashleyboyter

It's not really the hospital itself that advises against it; it's the staff members - and it happens at all the private hospitals.  They tend to get very snobby when the subject of Parkland comes up.

Being publicly funded, and a teaching hospital to boot, they work their staff to the bone, and don't pay as well as the private ones do.

That said, the medical staff gets more oversight than at private hospitals, and make fewer mistakes as a result.  They also get better and more frequent training opportunities and promotions come fast.

This contrasts with private hospitals which are loathe to provide extra training or promotions, once a billet is filled.

libtard_apologist
libtard_apologist

I thought Attorney General Eric Holder wanted us to have "an honest conversation about race".

libtard_apologist
libtard_apologist

Yes, how dare you naive libtards be exposed to actual facts instead of the reality-denying dogma of your feel-good circle-jerk cult.

libtard_apologist
libtard_apologist

Naive white-guilt libtards love to deny obvious facts. It's like a full-time job for them. It actually IS a full time-job for the professional white-guilt propaganda bloggers at the Observer.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@CogitoErgoSum @holmantx  

Please reconcile the cost of current entitlements, plus the ACA, with the stark fact we have largely been paying for existing entitlements by expanding the National Debt since 1985?

If it is true the trust funds have been emptied, and IOUs have repleced the funds, and unfunded liabilities for the top three entitlements are now $97 Trillion, and we owe an additional $17 Trillion in accumulated debt, and the CBO projects that figure to reach $20 Trillion by the end of the decade . . . 

how do we pay off the existing debt, fund all the entitlements out of taxation PLUS pay for the projected but unfunded entitlements?

And we will have to do this without the help of the largest bulge in our population - the Baby Boomers - who are coming out of their income-producing years at 10,000 a day for the next seventeen years?  They will be net consumers of entitlements.

As you probably are aware, we are presently caught in a looping economic Groundhog Day due to the heavy strain the taxpayer is currently under.  We should have been out of this recession five years ago.

There is no reason to believe that if we further burden all the generations behind the Boomers that it will not further exacerbate a very miserable situation.

And if you notice, the Fed is becoming ever more reluctant to buy treasury debt.  And so is the Treasury ever more reluctant to buy its own debt.  So even if we could float the ever increasing borrowing to fund entitlements with more debt, what makes you think it is sustainable when we are nearing some kind of stoppage?

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@Guesty @holmantx  women can't get the free help (qualify for subsidies) they need so long as the ACA requires them to jointly file with the abuser, which includes spousal rape.  They can't leave on their own since the ACA will not recognize the separation.  

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@libtard_apologist  Oh boy. Why do I bother? You're a broken record of hatred and venom. We already discussed this and the authors of the study you're referring to regarding this genetic trait admitted that there was no such conclusion to be drawn. I pointed that out before - months ago - yet you continue to ignore it as inconvenient to your pseudo-scientific argument. Why do I keep banging my head against your wall of ignorance/hatred? How old are you, anyway? I'm sensing between 17 and 25, with perhaps a few community college credit hours to rub together.

libtard_apologist
libtard_apologist

So according to you, rape is an economic problem and blacks commit such an astounding amount of rapes simply because they can't otherwise afford a woman. Got it.

libtard_apologist
libtard_apologist

It's so funny how white-guilt libtards like you who are always going on and on about "celebrating diversity" freak out when any of the very real deeper-than-skin-deep differences are pointed out to you.

libtard_apologist
libtard_apologist

"genetic pre-disposition to violence" absolutely exists, Cogito Ergo Dumb.

Look up the 2-repeat MAOA allele, its effects, and its percentage of distribution amongs races (hint: almost exclusively black). Then do the same thing with the 3-repeat MAOA allele, and then get back to me.

Look up Neanderthal DNA and its scientifically agreed-upon effects on the evolution of "non-Africans".

Peer-reviewed medical research journals are your friend and they definitely don't want to publish these facts in the Observer or any other libtard white-guilt propaganda media outlet.

Or maybe you are one of those fact-denying, evolution-denying, blank-slate Creationist nutcases.....

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@libtard_apologist  We've had this silly argument before, and you have no evidence to support your assumption that blacks have a genetic predisposition toward violence. You ignore socio-economic issues as a factor in crime statistics by race. You are simply a racist dipshit with an axe to grind because you feel disenfranchised as a white supremacist. Please move away from here. Might I suggest the friendly backwoods of Mississippi.

libtard_apologist
libtard_apologist

I like how even you can't actually bring yourself to deny the actual facts that you know deep down in your libtard heart to be true, Cogito Ergo Dumb.

libtard_apologist
libtard_apologist

Even this article tacitly acknowledges the problem with its white libtard media euphemism of the "southern sector" and its issues with rape.

libtard_apologist
libtard_apologist

Facts = "malevolent static" to naive reality-denying fact-ignoring white-guilt libtard "progressives".

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@holmantx @CogitoErgoSum  I gave you links above and you can't give me one good one? Due diligence, please.


Your logic is very simplistic. Law of supply and demand puts pressure on corporations to keep prices competitive. As in my Wal-Mart example, I'd doubt they would jack up prices because they have to own up to their full tax burden. Their profits would suffer, yes,  but I'd argue they were being subsidized by loopholes. Big Oil might be another story, but I'd love to see what happens when they jack their prices up to try and recoup profits that were beyond bloated to begin with. They try that, and the government will drop price controls on their asses so fast.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@CogitoErgoSum @holmantx  

Let's say the Observer can't pay for its operations with ad revenue and has to charge a dollar at the newstand.

Let's say the City needs revenue to cover public employee retirement costs.

So the City lays in a fitty cent tax per rag.  Now think real hard. harder.  bingo!

only humans can pay a tax.

and JESUS man! Google "total u.s. unfunded entitlements".

Tell me this isn't the first you heard about it?!?

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@holmantx @CogitoErgoSum  Not sure what the fact that taxes are a cost of business has to do with the fact that loopholes are preventing the government from collecting hundreds of billions in taxes from corporations. Your theory is that if the government collected these taxes, the businesses would charge consumers more? Would Wal-Mart suddenly jack up its prices? If so, perhaps that's a correction of an artificial control. Perhaps smaller businesses woud then be able to better compete.


Sources for this $97 trillion figure, please?

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@CogitoErgoSum  

Tax is a cost of producing the product and is passed on to the consumer of the product.

Unfunded liabilities amount to $97 Trillion plus $17 Tril, which must now be paid back through labor.

get the picture?

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@holmantx @CogitoErgoSum  $120 trillion? Where in hell did you get that number, genius? It's about $17 trillion, according to the latest estimates.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_debt_of_the_United_States


Poor fella. You actually think corporations don't pay taxes? Someone failed Accounting 101. Also, didn't you know -- corporations are people, too. From small businesses to multinationals, they all must pay Uncle Sam a percentage of their income if they do business in the good ole US of A, and many hundreds of billions are lost to loopholes. http://money.msn.com/now/post.aspx?post=c6550d4c-9741-4dcb-9614-ae499a4b3c23


There are hundreds of billions more in corporate welfare listed here -- and sourced -- by a conservative website: http://thefederalist.com/2013/09/30/calculating-the-real-cost-of-corporate-welfare/


We also give away $83B or so year to churches because of their religious exemptions. Should probably nix that and collect.


You continue to conveniently ignore the fact that most economists consider national debt as it relates to the Gross Domestic Product. Here's a primer on the current situtation (it was at its highest right after WWII): http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_debt_of_the_United_States 


You also to have horse blinders on to the idea that entitlements aren't the only thing that we need to take a hard look at. Wise up, jerky.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@CogitoErgoSum  It was $3 Trillion in 1985, the year we passed our first EMERGENCY DEFICIT AND DEBT REDUCTION ACT.

We have passed 12 more since that time.  All added tax increases, the spending cuts were subsequently blocked.

We hadn't emptied the entitlement trust funds yet.  We spent that later.

And at no time in our history have ever issued so much Treasury debt, the majority of which is being bought by the Treasury itself or by the Federal Reserve, nor have we ever monetized the the debt (printed unbacked money and dumped into the banking system) by a Trillion.

In other words, you have no idea what you are talking about.  Totally partisan to the end, I suppose.

and pssssst.  Corporations don't pay taxes.  They only collect taxes for government.

only  humans can pay a tax.

you are worse than a blonde with a checkbook.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@holmantx @CogitoErgoSum  Aside from the fundamental flaw in logic you make by implying that we should have (or ever have had in modern times) no national debt, or that our debt hasn't been much higher within the past 70 years than it is now (as a percentage of GDP), actually, no. Reform the tax code to remove loopholes for rich and corporations, substantially steepen the progressive tax rates, increase capital gains taxes, slash subsidies to Big Oil, Big Agriculture and other Fortune 50 companies, increase scientific and tech research (which short-sighted conservatives have massively cut). That's a few, for starters. Where we at, now?

libtard_apologist
libtard_apologist

Thanks again for proving beyond all doubt how incredibly stupid and uninformed you are, Myrna.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@CogitoErgoSum @holmantx  

Check.  That about it on your contribution?

(Google total cost of all U.S. wars, then subtract from amount owed (about $120 Trillion).

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @holmantx  

I do not participate in those programs nor will I.

I only help pay for them.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@holmantx  So, then, put your your money where your mouth is and refuse any more Social Security payments.  Also, end your participation in Medicare.  You will have done your little bit to save the planet.

Guesty
Guesty

@holmantx @Guesty  And before Obamacare there were no subsidies to apply for, so Obamacare did not make it worse.  It just didn't do as much as you would like.  

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