Hospital Receives Check For New Equipment

The latest medical technology will help Memorial Hospital at Gulfport better treat and investigate cases of sexual abuse and assault.

Attorney General Mike Moore presented the hospital a five thousand dollar Monday to help pay for some high tech equipment.

It's the latest advance for a program that's already recognized as the best in the state.

Attorney General Mike Moore handed over the check before taking a tour of the hospital's emergency room. He praised Memorial for being a leader with it's Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program.

Joel Turner is the Clinical Nurse Specialist who developed the program at Memorial

"It is a program that is dedicated to the care of victims of sexual assault and child molestation. It is an intense training that nurses go through in evidence collection. And also in the physical and psychological needs of victims of sexual assault."

The latest medical tool to support the program is called a colposcope. This high tech, computer linked camera will be essential in identifying sexual assault injuries.

"With the colposcope, with the instrument they bought, they can better detect injuries to women and children who have been sexually assaulted. They can pick up minute tears, lacerations that aren't visible with the naked eye. This will make prosecution of our cases so much easier and so much better," said Jane Philo, who directs the Gulf Coast Women's Center for Non Violence.

District Attorney, Cono Coranna, says the new equipment will make it easier to present credible evidence about injuries.

"To better document whether or not there was an injury to the body. And this gives us a very specific state of the art proof of the fact that there is an injury, or there's not an injury," said Coranna.

Emergency room statistics highlight the significance of the problem. The ER at Memorial Hospital handled 118 cases of sexual assault last year. 66 of those cases involved children under age 16.

Memorial Hospital has trained 17 nurses its sexual assault nurse examiner program. The program is already attracting praise and recognition for those who deal with the victims of sexual abuse.