Archive for Wednesday, September 23, 2009

D.A. calls Lawrence Memorial Hospital turning away rape victims ‘unconscionable’

Branson says hospital has been turning women away

Lawrence Memorial Hospital, 325 Maine.

Lawrence Memorial Hospital, 325 Maine.

September 23, 2009


LMH accused of turning away rape victims

The D.A. says rape victims have been turned away from Lawrence Memorial Hospital. Enlarge video

Sexual Assaults in Lawrence: Not an uncommon crime

In the past five years, more than 450 adult sexual assaults have been reported in Lawrence. There's a rape in Lawrence every four days. Each case represents an instance where someone’s life has been irrevocably changed., the Lawrence Journal-World and 6News are taking a deeper look at what those numbers really mean.

Rape victims are being turned away from Lawrence Memorial Hospital, and it’s creating a risk to the community, according to claims made by Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson.

A series of events at LMH on Sunday sent the prosecutor over the edge. He said two college-age rape victims were told to go to out-of-town hospitals to be examined.

“This is a problem that’s been ongoing for a while. We’ve had women and children (sent) to facilities outside of our community for years now,” Branson said. “We just have to get something done.”

After waiting in the hospital for several hours on Sunday, Branson said, the two victims were told they would have to go to Stormont-Vail Regional Health Center in Topeka to be examined. Two other victims were examined at the hospital.

LMH employs sexual assault nurse examiners who are trained to collect evidence for “rape kits,” which prosecutors and investigators use to help solve the case. Branson claims the hospital doesn’t have enough nurses for the number of sexual assaults that occur in Douglas County.

On Sunday, there weren’t enough nurses available to treat all four rape victims who showed up at the hospital, Branson said.

The district attorney wrote a firm letter to Gene Meyer, hospital president and CEO, seeking a meeting about the issue. The letter also was addressed to the LMH board and Lawrence city commissioners. Branson and Meyer are scheduled to meet Thursday afternoon.

Janice Early-Weas, director of community relations at LMH, said the hospital had received Branson’s letter and was reviewing the information.

“We will have more information after they meet,” she said.

Branson questions why other nurses in the hospital aren’t performing sexual assault exams — if a sexual assault nurse is not available — rather than sending the patient elsewhere for help.

“There is an incredible amount of shame and embarrassment associated with being the victim of an attack. It takes great courage for a survivor to come forward,” Branson said in the letter. “For them to suffer yet another indignity at being turned away from the emergency room is unconscionable.”

Sarah Jane Russell, executive director of GaDuGi Safe Center, a Lawrence sexual assault victim’s advocacy organization, said her organization had provided services to 108 sexual assault victims so far this year.

“We very well may be seeing more days where we have more than one person present at a hospital who’s been sexually assaulted,” Russell said. “What is our response to that? We cannot keep sending people away from our community.”

LMH turns patients away if they have suffered extremely traumatic injuries or if better equipment or a more specialized staff are needed. But Branson says that usually doesn’t apply in rape examinations.

Branson said that turning people away can lead some rape victims to abandon the reporting process and that delays in examination can destroy evidence needed to hold an attacker accountable.


lllwll 8 years, 8 months ago

Life-flight or drive yourself to another hospital. LMH doesn't have to deal with the situation.

afraidnot 8 years, 8 months ago

"It takes great courage for a survivor to come forward"

It would be pretty hard for a non-survivor to come forward.

G_E 8 years, 8 months ago

This is absolutely disgusting. Rape and sexual assault is already grossly under-reported, thanks to the stigma and victim-blaming that is rampant in our culture - and now hospitals are contributors? Absolutely shameful.

igby 8 years, 8 months ago

I really can't understand just why Branson, is in a hurry. He just wants some publicity for his next political move. DNA results take months to examine and it is of the up most importance that a rape kit be used by a trained nurse who knows how to collect the samples according to lab protocol.

Could it be the hospital in Topeka has a direct connection with the KBI lab and is regularly engaged in doing this kind of work for the KBI lab? If so, then Branson, should not be complaining about LMH, because test results that will hold up in court are more important that a little out of the way trip to Topeka, for the victim. The state should pay for this expense and even transportation to the victim.

Since sex offenders have gotten a green flag here in Lawrence, by the courts and the DA's office, it does not shock anyone that the hospital is overrun by victims.

The DA's office here doesn't file charges on over half the arrest in Lawrence, anyway. So, since when is Branson, in a hurry, and casting blame on LMH, and for just what? LMH, is just making sure the test results are done right.

peacock 8 years, 8 months ago

are you being serious??!!! "calling rape"????? drug and alcohol test being positive would mean that they couldn't have been raped???

are you one of those people that "no" means "maybe" if you ask more aggressively or feed her a few more drinks and she can't say "no" anymore???

just reading your comment truthbtold made me nauseated. yes, there are cases where women claim they were raped, and it turns out that they are lying, but those cases are few and far between and those women are prosecuted for filing false reports. i have never been raped (thank god) but know women who have been, and it is extremely confusing and scary. and yes, maybe one of them had been out and had a few drinks, but she still said "NO" and he did not take that for an answer. THAT IS RAPE.

btw- if she is already passed out that is rape too. just in case you were confused about that too truthbtold.

Jeremy Lichtenauer 8 years, 8 months ago

There must not be enough of a profit margin for LMH to perform sexual assault examinations.

Good job Branson!!

peacock 8 years, 8 months ago

the comment i was responding to seems to have disappeared.... very strange...

somebodynew 8 years, 8 months ago

igby - you are incorrect in some of your comments. There could be a policital angle for Branson (I doubt it since the election isn't close). The hospital in Topeka has no specail ties to the KBI, the only thing they do is take the issue of rape seriously and are willing to have staff members trained to do the specialized collection.

This has been a problem with LMH for several years, it just hasn't been publicly address until now. LMH has known they need more nurses trained in this area and has refused to do it, because the other places will bail them out. And yes, before you ask, I do have inside knowledge of this, I am not just ranting.

cellogrl 8 years, 8 months ago

Jeremy, you're dead wrong. It has nothing to do with profit margin.

Ernest Barteldes 8 years, 8 months ago

Shame, shame, shame. What kind of hospital is this?

remember_username 8 years, 8 months ago

I've asked this and commented in the "more like this" (thanks LJW) reference regarding the DA's letter. But I'd like to post part of my remarks here in the hopes the question will get answered. From other post -

"Branson questions why other nurses in the hospital aren’t performing sexual assault exams — if a sexual assault nurse is not available — rather than sending the patient elsewhere for help."

I officially ask DA Branson - "Sir, would any case be compromised if a nurse, untrained to collect forensic evidence, collected the evidence?" Or have I seen too many CSI shows.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 8 months ago

An idea... a corps of volunteer nurses to train to do the kits, and be on call. I'm sure a few retired nurses would do this.

It's saddening to think that on a Sunday morning FOUR women go to LMH for rape kits. %$&*@!!! God help us.

madman 8 years, 8 months ago

This is sad. Although my experience with LMH's ER for my child (different situation) was terrible so I am not suprised.

Sigmund 8 years, 8 months ago

OldEnuf2BYurDad (Anonymous) says… "It's saddening to think that on a Sunday morning FOUR women go to LMH for rape kits. %$&*@!!! God help us."

Not to mention "at least 108 sexual assault victims have shown up at LMH so far this year."

kansasmutt 8 years, 8 months ago

I say fire the CEO and get someone cheaper and who will do what needs to be done to change the LMH goals. I sure hear lots of complaints about that place.

repaste 8 years, 8 months ago

"In the past five years, more than 450 adult sexual assaults have been reported in Lawrence. There's a rape in Lawrence every four days. " "Sarah Jane Russell, executive director of GaDuGi Safe Center, a Lawrence sexual assault victim’s advocacy organization, said her organization had provided services to 108 sexual assault victims so far this year." Numbers dont match-up. I've seen a lot of studies saying less than 1/2 rapes reported. That means more like 1 or 2 a day. Maybe need a little more help in Lawrence.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 8 months ago

The city protects the hospital from competition. The hospital has many fine attributes.

However it is no secret that rape in Lawrence is a common occurrence therefore it stands to reason that the community hospital should be there for the victims.

If the hospital has money for parking lots and buying up residential property in close proximity to the hospital certainly there must money to help rape victims.

listening2U 8 years, 8 months ago

I feel bad for these victims to have to go somewhere else, at such a horrible time. Being a pediatric nurse I can understand why they would send the younger victims to Children's Mercy. But the question is, is it better for them to go somewhere there is a trained nurse to do the exam or have someone that is inexperienced do it? If a trained nurse does it, maybe the evidence will hold up in court so the DA does not throw it out due to lack of evidence.

What do smaller community hospitals do for the adult victims? I know in pediatrics they get sent from all over to Children's. I also know that in nursing school, collecting evidence is not a week long part of nursing school and there is not a clinical on how to collect evidence.

Plus, has anyone been through an exam or had a friend go through one? It takes hours to do an exam, even for those experienced nurses. Here is an idea. How about the community pay for the training and the hours of pay for the exams and court time for nurses to staff a clinic that can be accessed 24/7 in this community- or maybe we could take it out of the DA's salary/budget since this is so important to him.

GetItRight 8 years, 8 months ago

This is outrageous! LMH and its leadership are questionable at best regarding routine medical issues, but to turn away alleged victims of such horrendous crimes is unfathomable. And children, really?

For those who think the DA is raising this issue as a political move - shame on you! These are serious allegations - who else but the county's top law enforcement officer should bring them to light? This is what we pay the man for! And if someone else (an officer, a victim) did say something, would you listen?

This is an egregious violation of the mission of a hospital – much less our ONLY community hospital. Our doctors and nurses are bound by the Hippocratic Oath – is Gene Meyer or his administration? Do these people have morals and/or common decency?

Doctors and nurses of LMH, what do you have to say about this? Must you be specially trained to do this – and M.D.s, didn’t you put in 8 years of school plus residency (and for some, a fellowship) to care for such patients?

Richard Heckler 8 years, 8 months ago

I say it is more important to the victims in their quest for justice.

The hospital is doing well financially and I have no problem with protecting the community hospital. However the fact is rape victims need this service ASAP.

ivalueamerica 8 years, 8 months ago

Things like this make me very ashamed of some parts of my community.

Dan Eyler 8 years, 8 months ago

I guess this is a big deal? The County Attorney needs to get off the campaign trail. Hospitals all over America are on some sort of diversion because of to many patients they cannot handle, equipment is down or there is a shortage of staff. People walk into hospitals around the country and are send down the road for situations equal to or worse on a fairly regular basis. LMH is no different so lighten up a little. It will only get worse.

LA_Ex 8 years, 8 months ago

Hospital finances aside, doesn't it take people to do the exam? If there aren't enough qualified nurses (it is a qualification) to do the job what do you expect the hopsital to do? If a nurse isn't available, you can't magically make one pop out of a cloud of smoke. Sounds like the only way to solve this is to: a.) hire more nurses

b.) find more currently staffed nurses that are willing to do this task & get them certified.

I also doubt LMH is making the victim drive to Topeka. I'm sure it's the police officer doing the driving. Afterall he has to maintain his chain of custody of the evidence. This is a physical, mental, and legal issue. Yes it is important to get the victim taken care of, but it is also just as important to get the criminal convicted. I would think the DA would understand that....maybe not.

I wonder if the victims that LPD sent to an out of area hospital without going through LMH were minors? They probably know that LMH is gonig to send them there anyway due to their specialty. The article doesn't mention this.

oohmgrover 8 years, 8 months ago

Isn't there an issue of the evidence potentially being compromised the longer that they wait to do a rape kit and the more that the victim is moving about from hospital to hospital?

notwhatyourthink 8 years, 8 months ago


You are correct. 72 hours is the best time frame.

People this is not political. We are talking about training the staff you have to perform this service.

A rape victim that has been waiting might not have even talked with the police yet. If they did why would you want your tax dollars paying for that officer to go to Topeka with the victim. And since it is going to be prosecuted here do you want to have a nurse from outside Dougals county having to come here.

LMH is a joke. Get your people trained. You made a huge profit last year. The main thing for everyone to remember is that LMH is ultimately run by the city commisioners. Another thing they can't get right.

TopJayhawk 8 years, 8 months ago

Say what you want. LMH sucks.
Topeka has been cleaning your messes up for yrs.

Jean1183 8 years, 8 months ago

Instead of giving Mr. Meyer a another raise (he already makes 1/3 of a million a year!), or building on more (how many satelites does LMH own now?) pay to train the nurses.

LMH made a HUGE profit last year....they claim to be a "not for profit" hospital but couldn't care less about the people they serve.

They most definitely will sue a person who makes below the poverty line for unpaid hospital bills. I know someone who had to file bankruptcy for a hospital bill (not even her was her ex-husbands and their divorce specifically stated he was responsible for that bill). Even though she took the copy of the divorce decree to the hospitals attorney, she was told that it was a contract between her and her ex and she would have to pay the bill and collect from him...HA!

granolagirl 8 years, 7 months ago

LA-ex is right: if the nurse closet is empty, what is the hospital supposed to do? Conjure up extra nurses? I'm positive the hospital personnel were doing the best with the resources at hand to ensure an appropriate exam was performed that would hold up in court. The DA should know that not just any nurse can perform sexual assault exams; the opposing side in court would have a field day with that. It requires in-depth special training and certification.

Shame on the LJW for publishing such a one-sided story, and shame on all of those who just assume it is the medical personnel's fault. All hospitals have their faults, but of all professions to criticize, don't pick the ones filled with people who work themselves to death to take care of you when you are sick.

And FWIW, I wouldn't even take my dog to the Topeka hospitals. I've had bad experiences everywhere. People don't bang down the door to talk about their positive experiences, do they?

Bob Forer 8 years, 7 months ago

Forensic training in peforming a rape kit exam is not rocket science, people. A two hour in-house seminar is all that is required. The hospital recently cut the ribbon on its new, state of the art emergency room, complete with approximately 20 fully private treatment suites. Now that you've been given new toys, Mr. Meyer, I suggest you and your staff recall the lessons of your mother and learn to share your toys with others, in this case, innocent victims of vicious criminals.

emptymind 8 years, 7 months ago

I dont doubt this happened at LMH. They are not about patient care, compassion and employee satisfaction. The wool is being pulled over the city's eyes. The morale there is at an all time low. They can have all the feel good parties they want, who is taking care of the patients? I do know this firsthand and am not just ranting. They hire unlicensed people or retain them, and fire trained and certified, long term employees. This wouldn't happen anywhere else but there, where the bottom line is $$$. I prefer Topeka hospitals and if needed I do drive to Topeka or KC for my care. I know I'll be taken care of. They have a few fat cats who are unresponsive to the real workers concerns. Short staffing to save $$ leads to unhappy employees. They can't fool anyone anymore

remember_username 8 years, 7 months ago

How about the DA's office or local law enforcement pay for the rape kit collection training of a few volunteer nurses. One of these nurses could be "on call" if there is not a trained nurse on duty. These same nurses could serve "on call" at other nearby emergency clinics. Thus, if a victim would rather be treated in a familiar doctors office or their own community emergency facility they could do so. And since local law enforcement paid for the training, LMH doesn't bill the DA's office for collection of the rape kit. The volunteer nurses would receive pay like any member of the court and get some career enhancing training for free.

remember_username 8 years, 7 months ago

Syncophant - seriously a two-hour in house seminar? That really doesn't seem like much. I'm not sure collecting rape kits would be a job I'd want to do - anybody know if that's part of the problem? Finding staff willing to perform what has to be an awful task? If so maybe LMH shouldn't be taken to task for not forcing their employees to perform that particular task. I wish we could hear from LMH to get their take - this report seems a little one-sided.

kittycatty26 8 years, 7 months ago

LMH is a crap hospital. I wouldn't even take my dog to that emergency room. Good for you , Branson. Keep up the good work!

kla4one 8 years, 7 months ago

I suppose LMH is an average hospital. For a town the size of Lawrence, it always seems understaffed, and their financial decisions often seem based on the wrong priorities. Give the CEO a $15,000 raise, build more parking lots and expensive ER suites, but still not have enough nurses?? I don't think it's out of line for Branson to publicize this. Could be the DA's office and law enforcement have few options other than bad publicity to coerce a hospital to do the right thing for rape victims. No doubt hiring/training more forensic nurses is on their to-do list, but Branson wants to move it to the top. Good for him.

ferrislives 8 years, 7 months ago

listening2U says "How about the community pay for the training and the hours of pay for the exams and court time for nurses to staff a clinic that can be accessed 24/7 in this community- or maybe we could take it out of the DA's salary/budget since this is so important to him."

I'm not sure if you know this, but LMH is its own company. It is not our health department. So that company should pay to train more of their nurses to do rape kits, especially since it's obvious that there's an unfortunate and consistent need for it. They are after all our community hospital.

This story just proves what I've always said: LMH is nothing more than a glorified clinic. When they start spending more on patient care, as opposed to marketing and parking lots, then maybe the community and the DA will take them seriously.

They've been short-changing our community for years now, and I wish that we had the old LMH back; the hospital that had trauma care and would never had let this kind of thing happen to its customers.

rbwaa 8 years, 7 months ago

"After waiting in the hospital for several hours on Sunday, Branson said, the two victims were told they would have to go to Stormont-Vail Regional Health Center in Topeka to be examined."

This is what outrages me! WHY would a victim be made to wait several hours and then told to go elsewhere? Where is the triage that would have evaluated the situation immediately and more respectfully referred the victim? Don't get me wrong, it disturbs me that the exam couldn't be done at LMH but in the face of that the victims could have been treated with more compassion.

nekansan 8 years, 7 months ago

Any time the victim's exam is delayed or moved it has the potential to impact the integrity of the forensic evidence. I somehow doubt that this is the first that LMH has heard of these concerns from the DA and local law enforcement. The article states it has been an ongoing issue for over a year. If given that amount of time LMH has not taken steps to address the issue then what recourse other than going public with the issue did Branson have? I'm personally not a fan of his but give him a lot of credit for pushing this issue to ensure that LMH gets their act together.

LA_Ex 8 years, 7 months ago

I think it's much more common practice than you think for a smaller community hospital to refer sexual assault victims to other area hospitals. Just the mere thought that a community hospital should have these types of resources available 24/7 is pretty ridiculous. Would it be nice if it could? Of course it would. What if you live in Osage or Franklin County? I really doubt the community hospitals there can handle it. Yes LMH is bigger, but it's not St. Luke's or KUMC size. LMH is growing, and as it does it is gaining more of the resources this community needs. But for now, it is still considered to be a small community hospital.

I'm guessing this exam takes hours to complete, so having 4 in one day is sure to tax LMH's resources. This is very much a one sided story and Charles Branson should be ashamed of himself for not providing all the facts. But then again, that is what all lawyers do....provide only the facts that benefit their case. After all, they went to school to specialize in it.

nekansan 8 years, 7 months ago

Perhaps the issue is not that LMH does or does not provide sexual assault exams, but that they are not consistent with their ability to treat victims. LE and First responders know that they can't treat trauma so don't even bother wasting time bringing victims to LMH if they need services LMH is unable to provide. But for a victim to wait hours only to be told they must go elsewhere is an embarrassment and should not be tolerated.

ModSquadGal 8 years, 7 months ago

Isn't the bigger question why there are so many rapes being committed? FOUR in one day? That's the real issue. Obviously LMH is doing what it can, and I think Mr. Branson has spoken well about it, but let's not just cure a symptom, let's cut out the cancer!

kmat 8 years, 7 months ago

Those that are defending LMH. This is the type of hospital they are. I was sent there at 2:00 on a Friday for a CAT scan because of severe pains in my kidneys. Got the scan immediately, but was told they have no one available until Monday to look at the results to tell me what's wrong. Finally on Tuesday morning I get a call saying it was kidney stones. Over the weekend, I had to pass these stones with no pain killers and not knowing exactly what was wrong with me. They had said either it would be kidney stones, a severe infection, both or kidney disease. If there had been infection, I wouldn't have received treatment for it for 4 days!!!

LMH doesn't give a rats ass about the patients. They are ALWAYS understaffed! Never in my life will I go there again.

LA-EX - if they are supposed to be the community hospital and the community has a lot of rape victims, then the hospital needs to beef up it's personell to handle these cases.

WHY 8 years, 7 months ago

How often are four people raped at the same time??? Is this a daily thing?

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 7 months ago

"What if you live in Osage or Franklin County? I really doubt the community hospitals there can handle it."

Want to bet?

LA_Ex 8 years, 7 months ago

kmat - You say you were "sent" to LMH so I can only assume your primary care physician is the one that sent you. If there was a possibility of a kidney infection, it's his responsibility to treat your kidney infection, not LMH. He could have started you on medication before the results of the CAT scan if he really thought it was a concern. Why didn't you ask your doctor for pain medication? Sounds like you should be mad at him, not LMH.

LA_Ex 8 years, 7 months ago

Boston_Corbett says: "Want to bet?"

Considering the only hospital for Franklin County is Ransom and the only one in Osage County is.....well, I can't think of one. Yes, I'll take that bet.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 8 years, 7 months ago

Everyone knows that LMH sucks. I would not go there for anything! I made that mistake once, never again. I fell and hit my head. My wife called LMH and asked if there was a doctor on duty to help me, she was very rudely told bring him in and we will look at it, never answering my wife's question. We went to St. Francis, where I routinely go for anything that requires a hospital. The people were great, gave me 12 staples and sent me home. All in less than an hour. We live near Lecompton. A drive of 25 minutes for excellent medical care vs a drive of 15 minutes for virtually no care at all, is a no brainer. Also when St. Francis moves to the west side of Topeka, we can get there even faster. Thank you, Lynn

Alia Ahmed 8 years, 7 months ago

Here's a link that describes the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner course. It is describes it as being 40 hours in length. In sounds like after completing the course, the nurse has to gain some practical experience in order to be certified. Apparently there is a separate certification needed for pediatrics. Without having a properly trained nurse and physician available for pediatric cases, the exam and collection of evidence could be as traumatic or worse for the child than the original assault. There may be SANE certified nurses on call, but the on-call pool still may not be large enough to provide the coverage needed when demand is high.

lori 8 years, 7 months ago

It is not a two hour seminar. According to the internets, to be a sexual assault nurse examiner for adults and adolescents, you have to have been an RN for a minimum of 2 years, take a minimum of 40 hours of didactic instruction, and complete supervised clinicals. It appears most programs are between 40-60 hours of didactic instruction with a 45 hour clinical requirement. To be a pediatric examiner, there are even further requirements.

I am a nurse at the hospital, though not in the ED. I cannot address the issue of rape victims being sent to other hospitals, although I would have liked the article to address this. Obviously we at LMH are not meeting the community need with rape exams, and I hope a follow up article will address the hospital's reasons behind why this is -- staffing and SANE certification issues, age of patient issues, dropping the ball, whatever -- as well as any action the hospital is going to take to address these issues. This article certainly reflects poorly on the hospital and while I think the article itself is woefully one-sided, I'm glad it was published, as it will most certainly lead to an improvement in care for rape victims in our community.

I would like to state that as a nurse at LMH, I am quite happy with my job, I feel the staffing is more than adequate, and I think our hospital does a great job for it's scope and size. There is always room for improvement, yes. I would never deny that. I've been in other area hospitals, and I do not see that they are better staffed, more competent, or provide better patient care. I'm proud to work at this hospital, and I hope we continue to grow and expand. I'm sorry we can't meet everyone's needs all the time, and while that is truly an impossible goal, I hope we continue to strive to improve care offerings and access.

Amesmb 8 years, 7 months ago

It would be nice if someone could figure out why Lawrence has so many rapes in the first place.

midwestmom 8 years, 7 months ago

Unfortunately, my family had need of the LMH 'emergency' room recently. First, I want to say, the doctor we saw and the nurses were all great, but they were understaffed and overwhelmed. My daughter was ill with a virus, fainted, hit her head on a tile floor and needed to be seen and our family doctor directed us to the E/R. We got there and while she was being triaged - there was a man leading a tour of visitors who was touting the size of the E/R, it's expert staff, fabulous equipment, yada yada yada.

My daughter was moved from triage to a 'holding area' (their term) until a bed was available and not checked on again for more than an hour (I had had enough and was getting ready to take her to Topeka or KC) and finally went and found a nurse clocking out and asked when my daughter was going to be seen. She was lovely, apologetic, said they were very busy, said she didn't know, but would find out. I waited in the area and just a couple of minutes later, she came dashing back (obviously looking around for something), found my daughters chart lying on an unattended counter, quietly apologized (actually she mouthed the words "I'm so sorry") and said that someone would be with my daughter ASAP. She was right. The doctor immediately came to see my daughter, performed an exam, told us that they were finding us a room (do they move around on them?) and ordered several tests. My daughter was moved, had blood drawn, an IV line started (nothing hooked up to it - but we thought that they were waiting to get the CAT scan done) and went for her CAT scan. Eventually (about 45 minutes later), the doctor came in to tell us the CAT scan was normal, that they were waiting on the blood results. My daughter asked about the IV (she was supposed to be given fluids) and the doctor said "oh, you're all done with your fluids already" and we said, "no they were never started". So, a nurse came in, put a bag of fluids onto the IV line, we got the test results back and some home instructions and were dismissed. I can hardly wait for the bill to come in - what are the chances that they got that right, after everything that was 'wrong' from start to finish. I am just incredibly grateful that my daughter wasn't seriously ill.

The irony of hearing/seeing the 'tour and tour guide' showing off the cosmetically attractive new E/R while receiving such bad care and then reading about rape victims being turned away makes me borrow a brother in law's assessment: The LMH E/R is a gold plated turd.

All the pretty furniture, equipment, etc. isn't doing anyone any good if they won't adequately staff it. I vote for less 'pretty', and more trained nurses/doctors, etc. Beautiful artwork doesn't matter in a life or death situation. Professionally trained and paid doctors and nurses do.

devobrun 8 years, 7 months ago

Modern medicine has adopted more technology and that costs. But what has really driven up costs is the proliferation of middle men.

The reason that LMH ER sends most of its accident victims to KC or Topeka is that those are level one emergency rooms. Level one ERs didn't exist 35 years ago. Back then, you went to the ER, period. They might be open.

LMH serves now as a triage and early diagnosis center (a middle man). Anything involving head, heart, or other acute medical care and off you go to the nearest ER that can deal with the newest and best.

If you wonder why health costs are going up, it is because LMH cannot treat head trauma without fear of lawsuit. Hurt yer head....outta here. You still get charged by LMH, but don't really get treated.

The U.S gives the best medical care anywhere and at any time in the history of the world. Some would say that we give too much. It is very expensive to have an ER at LMH that can't treat level one emergencies. It would be even more expensive to have a level one here. The care given to patients at level one ERs is quite amazing.

Docs used to be the limiting factor in health decisions. No more. Nowadays, its insurance clerks. Protocols. Cookbook. Send to level one.

Gene Myer knows this all too well and has to maintain a high profile in the community while still making a profit. The board loves him. I think he screwed this up, however. Look for a rethinking of rape victim services in the near future.

Kyle Neuer 8 years, 7 months ago

No freaking excuse, LMH. None. Either step up or get out.

lgreen17 8 years, 7 months ago

What a great way to divert the ISSUE that four women were raped in Lawrence in Sunday and the DA doesn't have any one to prosecute - because NO ONE has been arrested!! Even if the police arrested someone the DA wouldn't be in the courtroom (when was the last time he prosecuted a case? anyone?) because he would be out getting his nails done.

pissedinlawrence 8 years, 7 months ago

I agree, FIRE the CEO, what a piece. What about the supervisors? Who was in charge that night that sent these girls away? Maybe their job needs to be looked at. Not that the cops are doing any better at catching these rapists. I doubt they care anymore than the hospital workers.

emptymind 8 years, 7 months ago

to lori's post earlier...i have been to several smaller area hospitals in the last year and recieved much better care and the waiting is almost nothing. granted, there are some very good people at lmh, i'm not dissing on any of them per se, just the hospital has forgot who they get their funding from. gene meyer lives in a huge house outside douglas county ( or did), bypassing hospital policy that the pres. live within the county. he got a double salary increase then starts cutting back on employees and building more parking lots. they can't even keep some services on board at the south clinic, yet want to pave a community park?

their priorities are not's all about $$$...heck with the patients needs

Bassetlover 8 years, 7 months ago

Consumer - Your comments are baseless in fact. GaDuGi staff work tirelessly educating this community about sexual violence. They have been busting their butts for years to get the message out and to create awareness. They facilitate dozens of programs in this community all aimed at stopping this madness. They share zero guilt in this debacle and to point any blame their way is outrageous.

sourpuss 8 years, 7 months ago

I don't understand how it can take that long to collect the evidence. I understand that portion of the exam would require a nurse specifically trained for that, but for the general medical attention itself, can't any of the nurses on staff do this? And can't the trained nurse reasonably quickly collect the evidence? This smells like either a paperwork issue or an insurance issue - is LMH turning away the uninsured?

notyourmom 8 years, 7 months ago

I have recently had my wages garnished due to a medical bill I owed LMH for my daughters care. They are getting their money, but turning away victims of crimes? That means a minimum of two rapists are still loose in my community and two victims in my community who were brave enough to do something about it were turned away. I will bleed to death before I set foot in LMH again. Thanks for the good news about St. Francis, Lynn.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 7 months ago

The medical insurance industry is the largest middle man on planet earth. This industry does not supply health care so why send them so damn much money.

Considering what the under insured pay out each year it is likely this group would be better off setting this money in a savings account then pay "out of pocket" . The under insured premium plus deductibles plus co-pays = a lot of money...why not boycott the insurance people?

How many insured can afford or believe this list of expenses should be attached to YOUR insurance premiums:

• its bureaucracy • monster profits • high corporate salaries • advertising budgets • sales commissions • Shareholders are the primary clients of for-profit insurance companies, not patients • Special interest campaign dollars are also primary clients *Golden parachutes = primary client

Would all insured be money ahead if the above list would be eliminated?

afraidnot 8 years, 7 months ago

oohmgrover (Anonymous) says…

"Isn't there an issue of the evidence potentially being compromised the longer that they wait to do a rape kit and the more that the victim is moving about from hospital to hospital?"

notwhatyourthink (Anonymous) says…

"You are correct. 72 hours is the best time frame."

Thank god Topeka is only 20 minutes away.

Tom McCune 8 years, 7 months ago


You're missing a good business opportunity here. Crank up the choppers and airlift them to Topeka or KC. That's what you do with everything else. $20,000 per flight should provide pretty good return on investment.

Kat Christian 8 years, 7 months ago

Don't you know LMH hospital is all about the almight $$DOLLAR$$. People aren't patients unless they have $$ signs showing in their health insurance. Medical treatment is no longer about treating people it is about $$$$ MONEY. All about money. I have absolutely no faith in Doctors, especially here in Lawrence. God forbide I ever need LMH in an emergency. But they can spend that money on image can't they and lavisous parties to impress themselves. Makes me sick.

nlf78 8 years, 7 months ago

Turning away rape victims...there are no words for how utterly awful that is.

oneforall 8 years, 7 months ago


Bill Lee 8 years, 7 months ago

There is a national nursing shortage. It's not just at LMH. Women who would have gone into nursing a generation or two ago are now climbing the corporate ladders they were banned from in the past. Not enough men are being encouraged to become nurses. As unemployment rises, we'll see an increase in nurses, because the jobs are there.

That said, there is no excuse for not treating a rape victim at her most vulnerable time. And there is no excuse for not agressively prosecuting rapists. Instead of pointing fingers at others, lets all examine what we can do to make the situation in Lawrence better. Lawrence is my home, and I want to be proud of it and the people who live here. If there is something I can do to help, please let me know what that is.

AlligatorMama 8 years, 7 months ago

Go to Stormont Vail - the Sexual Assault nurse there is awesome and comes in no matter what. No sexual assault victim is ever turned away.

After working at both LMH and Stormont Vail, I will NEVER use LMH again except to have a baby. The ER at LMH is a joke, as are the doctors.

Joe Hyde 8 years, 7 months ago

I'm ignorant about what all is involved in conducting a "rape kit" exam. I also don't know how many female officers are currently employed by Lawrence PD, Douglas Sheriff and KUPD.

But if the medical procedure itself is not too difficult a task to perform, then one possible solution is to train those female officers in the skills needed to do a rape kit. Following that training, those female officers would always be on call for the task anytime a rape victim went to LMH.

In almost all other types of criminal investigation, it is law enforcement people who collect the relevant evidence -- not medical people. A female officer from one of our local departments, once she is properly trained in rape kit procedure, would be the ideal officer to perform a number of investigatory functions critical to prosecuting the assailant. And she could perform them in an almost simultaneous manner: interviewing the victim; collecting semen and blood samples; taking photographs as needed.

It could all be done in the hospital, in safe conditions that allow privacy.

A female officer especially would be sensitive to the victim's need for reassurance at this most devastating time. And with a police officer being the one doing the rape kit, the chain of evidence required for a conviction is not only shortened but greatly strengthened.

The overall benefit would be faster evidence collection (and evidence protection) that lets each victim more effectively counter-attack her assailant.

wibn2013 8 years, 7 months ago

There doesn't seem to be a nursing shortage in the Lawrence area. There certainly shouldn't be in the KC metro with KU Med right there. The hospital hired very few newcomers this year. It was competitive. Shortage? No.

A rape kit has to be administered within a certain time frame to collect the necessary DNA and other traces.

Why doesn't the hospital pay for their employees to become certified? A 5 day course could be really beneficial. As for the nurses not wanting to do it because of the scenario, that doesn't make a lot of sense. Nurses put up with a lot of undesirable situations and handle a lot of slack work.

The hospital treats criminals, but not victims?

Jean Robart 8 years, 7 months ago

I have been an ER patient at LMH more than once and have absolutely no complaints about the treatment I received. That goes for other outpatient visits and inpatient visits. I am impressed by the caring and compassionate care received there

akt2 8 years, 7 months ago

There is no charge to a sexual assault victim for evidence collection. Is it LMH's fault that there are all of these rapists running around Lawrence? Is it LMH's fault that at any one time there may be 2 or 3 underage drunks taking up beds because they were plucked from their dorms by medics due to their complete drunken condition? Is it LMH's fault that all of the crisis intervention rooms are full at one time because everyone is having a bad day, and may have made a comment that they might want to hurt themselves? Is it LMH's fault because everyone thinks they have the Swine Flu? The answer to all these questions is NO. And if you don't like LMH, by all means drive your chest pain, difficulty breathing or uncontrolled bleeding to KC or Topeka. Or die trying.....

nursegail 8 years, 7 months ago

I am not sure what the word count limit is here, but I will give it my best shot. I might be able to speak to you all with both experience as an ED nurse and as a SANE. SANE stands for sexual assault nurse examiner. I have done over 75 exams and have taken well over 1000 hours of call within the kansas area. Adult and pediatric exams require specialty training and practice in order to deliver quality evidence and victim advocacy. Any nurse can read instructions and swab a victim. I will use an analogy that might help here...If you were going to have open heart surgery... would you like for the surgeon to do one case a month or would you opt for the surgeon that does 60 cases per month? Forensic evidence collection is a specialty. Pediatric forensic evidence collection is even more so. Pediatric cases represent a special population that are victims of acute and chronic sexual abuse. This type of abuse represents vague injuries and behavior patterns that require experienced law enforcement, medical, nursing, and social work professionals to assess and develop a case. Pediatric victims of sexual assault should be taken care of by experts that do many cases a month, such as Childrens Mercy and others. Adult sexual assault victims should be in the care of experts that do many cases a month, not generic nurses reading canned instructions out of a box. It is the duty of every medical and nursing professional to take care of patients within the scope that they are trained. It is also their duty to recognize when the patient could benefit from care at another facility. If you can not meet the patient's needs in a timely fashion, because you do not have the resources to do this... it is your responsibility to find a place for the patient to get the required services. A SANE nurse takes 1-3 hours to complete a single exam. You cannot carry on several exams concurrently due to the obvious risk of cross contamination of evidence. There is a time factor in evidence collection. One SANE nurse cannot take care of 4 victims presenting within a short time frame. All of the nurses that take SANE call also work full time at an emergency department, they also have family, school, and life. I can promise you that SANE teams at all area hospitals are committed to their mission. We all help cover each other when we are maxed out. Even this local hospital has taken transfers from other hospitals for sexual assault exams. We do what is necessary to take care of the patients. Inflammatory articles and wreckless witnesses can do extensive harm to those that have sacrificed holidays, sleep, and family time to cover sexual assault exams. One weekend with an extraordinary presentation does not represent the many hours of call and the hundreds of exams that are done by dedicated nurses in hospitals both here, Topeka, and Kansas City. We, the nurses that do these exams are on the same team. We do this for the victim, obviously not for the rewards or warm strokes.

LloydDobbler 8 years, 7 months ago

It is a problem that we don't have enough experienced nurses to perform services for Rape victims. But is anyone else concerned that we are on track for 144 rapes this year? What the hell is going on? That seems incredibly high for a city the size of Lawrence.

acg 8 years, 7 months ago

It's horrible that they had to turn these victims away. I doubt it was done with malice, it's just obvious that they need more experienced nurses on staff to deal with these situations, or at least have some on call for this specific purpose. When it comes to hospitals, I have to say I've had nothing but good experiences with LMH and bad experiences with Stormont and St. Francis. I thought stormont was dirty and the nurses at St. Francis were very rude to my sister in law when she was giving birh there. I hate KUMed. I hear it's a great hospital but I get so mad every time I have to go there because they seem very disorganized to me.

I also agree we have a sexual assault problem here. The sentences for these crimes need to be much stiffer. And if it's a sex crime against a little kid, to me it should be death.

addatude 8 years, 7 months ago

Wow! I live in OP, KS with 4 major hospitals and over 500 beds with a Rape about every 10 days. Why is this DA not working on the problem in Lawrence and doing something about crime? Why did 4 women have to go through and live with what happened to them for the rest of their lives?

Great tactic for your DA move the attention to someone or something else. I wouldn't vote for a guy like that. He needs to do his job better.

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 7 months ago

Victims of crime should never be turned away. This is not due to a lack of appropriate professionals in the community. It is due only to poor management and procedures.

LA_Ex 8 years, 7 months ago


Thank you for everything you do for the victims in our community. Don't take the comments to heart on this board. The majority of the people commenting here have no idea what they are talking about, but I think you could probably figure that out for yourself. You and the other SANE nurses at LMH are a valuable resource and are doing a job that most people probably couldn't handle.

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