A couple of months ago, I was called to see a patient at Wesley Woodlawn ER. The patient told nurse Kyirsten that she had faked an illness in order to be brought to the ER. The patient disclosed to Kyirsten that she had been held against her will and sexually assaulted. The person who brought her to the ER claimed to be a family member and left after dropping her off. The patient disclosed that this person was not a family member, and was, in fact, one of the perpetrators. Kyirsten notified me and together, we made the patient confidential, and I headed to the ER to see her. It’s a good thing the patient was made confidential, as the perpetrator did return to the ER looking for her. The perpetrator was told that the patient left, and the patient was now safe. When I arrived, police had been notified. Kyirsten and Lisa were so accommodating to me, as it was my first case at your ER. Kyirsten asked questions regarding adults and mandatory reporting, and I was able to provide her with policies regarding mandatory reporting and adults. All of your staff were respectful, empathetic, and kind to this patient and me.
Kyirsten did so many things right. She believed the patient. This is crucial in recognizing victims of sexual assault, but especially victims of human trafficking. As a forensic nurse, I see victims of human trafficking often. Even as often as we see them, their stories are so crazy that it can be hard to believe that this happens in our neighborhood, but it does happen. I am so grateful that Kyirsten recognized it and got this patient the help she needed.
She treated the patient with compassion and kindness. So many victims are not respected, believed, or treated with dignity. This makes victims less likely to report.
She called a forensic nurse. Kyirsten recognized that she was unsure of what should come next, so she called someone who knew. By calling me, Kyirsten provided the patient with the option of having a sexual assault exam, in which she received needed medical treatment and evidence collection. I was able to connect the patient with the Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center. A WASAC advocate was present during the patient’s treatment. The advocate provides support during the exam, and resources for counseling and care as the patient moves from victim to SURVIVOR. The patient came to the ER with only the clothes she was wearing. I was able to bring a “Fresh Start” bag that is provided by I.C.T. SOS, an organization that seeks to end human trafficking. A “Fresh Start” bag contains clothing and hygiene necessities. Many victims of human trafficking present to us with nothing. This simple bag provides the patient a first step to taking back their lives.
I can’t say enough how much I appreciated Kyirsten’s work and the support of Wesley Woodlawn ER staff. The patient was also very grateful. In the end, the perpetrators were arrested and are being prosecuted.