Tanner Outfits Child Advocacy Center with Medical Exam Facilities
Posted Date: 4/1/2014
Children brought to the Carroll County Child Advocacy Center have already endured more than any child should, but a gift from Tanner Health System will help spare them additional trauma and ensure that their medical needs are met.
Tanner is providing the center with the resources necessary to conduct a medical examination on child abuse victims, including medical equipment such as an exam table and cabinets, along with medical supplies and the video equipment that will allow specialists to participate in exams via telemedicine.
“Currently, children who have suffered sexual abuse must travel 50 miles one-way to Atlanta or LaGrange, which are the closest providers of medical exams on child sex abuse victims,” said Emily Cole, chair of the Carroll County Child Advocacy Center. “Just traveling that extra distance can add trauma and anxiety to a child who has experienced abuse. If these exams were offered in the hospital or a physician’s office, you run the risk of the child or family running into someone they know who might ask why they’re there. So being able to perform the exams at the center offers privacy without having to travel the extra distance.”
Since the Carroll County Child Advocacy Center opened in 2012, it has provided almost 170 forensic interviews for authorities investigating child abuse cases in Carroll, Haralson and Heard counties.
Jesse Mitchell, MD, a board-certified emergency physician with Carrollton Emergency Physicians and a member of the medical staff at Tanner Health System, has volunteered to serve as the center’s medical doctor and has undergone special training to provide medical examinations on suspected child sexual abuse victims.
“This marvelous facility and its new medical room will bring a new and essential ability to provide the medical evaluation of young rape and abuse victims in the best possible environment,” said Dr. Mitchell.
Some of the equipment provided by Tanner was already on hand, stored in the health system’s warehouse. Other supplies were ordered through the health system’s purchasing department, allowing the benefit of volume buying to ensure the most supplies were available for the lowest cost.
“We’re very fortunate to have a resource in our community like the Carroll County Child Advocacy Center, and Tanner is grateful that we had the opportunity to enable this facility to provide such a badly needed service,” said Loy Howard, president and CEO of Tanner Health System. “We hate to think that this type of thing could happen in our community, but if it does happen, we’re glad that we can make sure our children are cared for close to home.”
The Carroll County Child Advocacy Center had applied for membership with the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Georgia and was recently notified that it’s been accepted as an associate member by the National Children’s Alliance.
“In cases of suspected child sexual abuse, forensic interviews by specially trained, experienced professionals are critical for an investigation,” said Jordan Greenbaum, MD, medical director of the Stephanie V. Blank Center for Safe and Healthy Children at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, who has helped mentor the Carroll County Child Advocacy Center in preparing its exam capabilities. “Perhaps the most important reason for obtaining a medical exam is to be able to reassure the child — and parent — that the child’s body is normal, to answer questions about the body and to dispel harmful beliefs a child may be harboring regarding the effects of the abuse.”
In addition to Tanner’s donation of supplies and equipment for exams and telemedicine, the medical exam room at the Carroll County Child Advocacy Center also will feature original artwork donated by artist Liz Edge.
Cole said the center hopes to begin offering exam services by May 1, and will host an open house on April 14 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to showcase its facilities to the community. The center is located at 306A Bradley Street, in the same building that houses the Southeastern Quilt & Textile Museum, across from Carrollton City Hall.
“Our center truly belongs to the county, as the citizens and companies have been gracious in providing for our needs,” said Cole. “Our hope is that the community will come to see our center firsthand and what we are doing.”
More information on the Carroll County Child Advocacy Center is available online at www.cc-cac.org.