Pinwheel ceremony raises awareness about child abuse

March 26, 2024

ELIZABETHTOWN, KY (March 25, 2024) – Baptist Health Hardin staff gathered on the front lawn of the hospital today to plant blue pinwheels. The event kicks off Child Abuse Prevention Month, which is observed each year in April. 

During the ceremony, coordinated by the hospital’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)/Forensic program, staff planted 189 blue pinwheels – one for each child seen for maltreatment at Baptist Health Hardin in 2023.

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. We also stand together as a community to reinforce a safe, stable, and nurturing  relationship for children and families.” 

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 15 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 14.

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 one of the busiest emergency departments in the state.

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 and currently employs 16 SANE/Forensic nurses.