Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Meet Prestigious Partner Lana Martin

In mid-April, CoxHealth employees were recognized for their years of service to our organization. More than 1,100 employees and their guests gathered at University Plaza Convention Center to celebrate 12,500 combined years of service among employees receiving service pins. Meet the third of our five Prestigious Partners winners below:

Lana Martin 
Trauma Services 

Lana Martin is an RN, a Certified Emergency Nurse, and works as a nurse clinician in Trauma Services in the Cox South ED. She is also a SANE nurse, which stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. SANE nurses are specially trained to care for and collect evidence from assault victims.

One night in the ER, Lana was assisting a girl who was a victim of a sexual assault. She was 16 years old. She was very emotional and crying. The girl’s family was with her. Lana says, “It was a bad situation.” And like many sexual assaults in the community, this one involved drinking.

Following protocol, Lana called the Springfield Police Department so an officer could interview the patient. Lana remembers the officer who came in was a physically big man who was acting “very macho” as Lana described his behavior and was already indicating to Lana that he didn’t believe the victim’s story.

Lana tried to explain to the officer that memory recall in trauma victims comes in pieces at times and details aren’t always told in the order they happened. Lana could tell that the officer’s emotions were already not where they needed to be.

The two walked into the patient room and Lana went through the series of questions she asks all assault victims and then collected evidence. At one point, the officer began saying comments to the girl as he was standing over her, things like “I guess you learned your lesson.” And ‘you’ll never do this again, will you?”

Lana said it was horrible. The girl was lying with her face down in the bed, crying uncontrollably. Lana was herself crying because of the officer’s behavior.

Lana has a great deal of respect for people in authority but she nearly had the officer escorted off the property.

After the experience Lana felt like something needed to be done to prevent this from happening to anyone else in the future – “coming into an emergency room after that trauma and then being re-traumatized by an officer.” 

She eventually contacted the officer’s sergeant who came to interview Lana at work. He took a complete statement of the events that took place and told her there would be an investigation. He also suggested that she report it to Internal Affairs which she did. Communication with the department went on for some time.

A few months later she got notified that Internal Affairs did not find fault in the officer’s actions.

But the sergeant of the officer informed Lana that the investigation which included her details of the case led to changes in the way officers with the Springfield Police Department respond to sexual assault victims. The sergeant sent Lana the three-page document that outlines the new protocols and processes which include specific explanations about how officers should behave during interactions with victims.

Lana says knowing something good came from the event makes her feel awesome. She hopes that this will never happen to anyone else ever again. As Lana says, “I was traumatized by the experience and I can’t imagine how the victim felt and she’s 16. She was a kid.”