Pinwheel ceremony raises awareness about child abuse
Staff planted blue pinwheels on hospital lawn in observance of Child Abuse Prevention Month.
ELIZABETHTOWN, KY (April 17, 2023) – Baptist Health Hardin staff gathered on the front lawn of the hospital last week to plant blue pinwheels in observance of Child Abuse Prevention Month.
During the ceremony, coordinated by the hospital’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)/Forensic program, staff planted 192 blue pinwheels – one for each child seen for maltreatment at Baptist Health Hardin in 2022.
Representing hope, happiness, and innocence, the blue pinwheel is a national symbol of child abuse awareness. Blue pinwheels remind the community about the issue of child abuse and present an opportunity for conversations about this difficult topic.
“The SANE/Forensic program at Baptist Health Hardin is committed to providing a holistic approach to safe, compassionate, quality care for children and families who have been affected by maltreatment,” said Kristina Tapio, the hospital’s SANE/Forensic program manager. “We stand together to raise awareness, increase prevention and Improve intervention by putting a stop to maltreatment toward children.”
A SANE, or a sexual assault nurse examiner, is a registered nurse specially trained in the forensic examination of adults, adolescents, or pediatric patients who have experienced sexual assault. In addition to providing medical assessment and treatment, SANEs also collect and preserve time-sensitive evidence and must be prepared to testify in legal proceedings. SANE-Ready hospitals have SANE nurses available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Baptist Health Hardin is one of 14 SANE-Ready hospitals in Kentucky.
Tapio stated that in recent years, Kentucky has ranked first in the nation for child maltreatment and currently stands at number six.
Tapio recognized and thanked the SANE/Forensic team for its meaningful work. “I would like to recognize and applaud the SANE/Forensic team, the group of medical professionals at the bedside advocating and meeting the medical, forensic, and emotional needs of these children 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Thank you for everything you do for these children and their families.”
In his opening remarks, hospital President Robert Ramey stated that Baptist Health Hardin has the third busiest Emergency Department in the state, seeing almost 70,000 patients a year, many of whom are children.
“We have an incredible team that is dedicated to providing exceptional care in such a critical time of need for those patients,” said Ramey. “As you know, for victims of abuse, it’s a long and emotional journey throughout their entire lives.”
Ramey thanked the SANE/Forensic team for raising awareness of child abuse in the community and acknowledged the work of Baptist Health Foundation Hardin for the support it has provided from donations and more than $1.3 million in grant money to support the program.
The Baptist Health Hardin SANE program began at the former Hardin Memorial Health in 2016 with on-call services. The program has grown from seeing 35 patients in the first year to delivering care for more than 500 patients annually.