Horizon CEO Apologizes After ER Turns Away Rape Victim

The interim president and CEO of the Horizon Health Network “deeply regrets” that staff from the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton, N.B. turned away a sexual assault survivor.

A 26-year-old woman went to the emergency room last month for a sexual assault forensic examination. Staff told her to book an appointment for the next day since a trained nurse wasn’t available.

Margaret Melanson said her thoughts are with the survivor and commended the woman for her strength and bravery to come forward.

“This patient absolutely did everything right in this situation by presenting to the Emergency Department to request to speak to a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE nurse),” said Melanson.

“What happened to this patient was unacceptable. We need to improve this program for all those who will come forward.”

Melanson said Horizon would review processes and protocols regarding the SANE program and work with partners to ensure all sexual assault victims receive timely, quality and safe care.

“The SANE Program is a provincial program meant to provide vital support to victims and act as a liaison to law enforcement,” she said.

“Unfortunately, it did not meet the needs of this patient when she was in need, and I deeply regret this.”