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In fiscal year 2011, more than 80,000 patients came through the doors of the FMH Emergency Department, making it one of the busiest in the state of Maryland. Despite this hectic pace, the staff has always worked hard to forge strong relationships with law enforcement agencies, the county court system and local schools. Many of the community benefit programs offered through the Emergency Department are the result of these collaborations.
More than five million people are involved in episodes of interpersonal violence every year. Fifteen hundred of these victims die.
Because half of these victims have sought medical attention in the past for domestic violence, the staff of the FMH Emergency Department has established a specific protocol to care for patients whose injuries or medical conditions appear to be related to domestic violence. The new program, called the Lethality Assessment Program connects patients with advocates who can help them with immediate and long term safety plans, shelter and legal expertise—before it’s too late.
One of only two hospitals in Maryland to implement a program of this kind, FMH was honored with a Distinguished Achievement Award at the 7th Annual Maryland Patient Safety Conference.
Thanks to a program called S.A.F.E. (Sexual Assault Forensic Examination), professional, confidential care is available around-the-clock at FMH for victims of rape or sexual assault. When a victim of sexual assault comes to the Emergency Room, one of the ten forensic nurses employed by the hospital and an advocate from Heartly House arrive within the hour. Together, they explain the victim’s options, provide comfort and support and assure that everything that happens after that is done according to the patient’s direction. While the program receives some government funding, most of the financial responsibility has been absorbed by FMH since it was launched in 1998.
The FMH S.A.F.E. team also assists the State’s Attorney’s Office with its Youthful Offenders Program. Every month, one of the hospital’s S.A.F.E nurses speaks to a different group of at-risk juvenile males about how to deal more positively with anger.
Also at the Court’s request the hospital has developed a drunk-driving awareness program called Take a Moment. This two-part program targets offenders who have been convicted of driving while intoxicated, showing them in graphic detail the consequences of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.