The Office for Victim Advocacy & Violence Prevention at UTRGV reported this morning that Mission Regional Medical Center shut down the Sexual Assault Forensic Unit without warning in a Facebook post.

The post read:

ATTENTION ATTENTION!!!! Our office was just informed this morning that the Sexual Assault Forensic Unit at Mission Regional Medical Center has been closed down and the two SANEs (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners) have been laid off!!!! This not only brings sadness and anger but also a major step back for our county since they were the only place left in Hidalgo Co where a person would be able to be seen right able way and not wait until a Nurse arrived. Now if a victim is raped, they will need to travel to Harlingen and wait there to be seen. This is an injustice for victims in our county.

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Ariel Hernandez, a resident who is part of Advocacy for Everyone, made an ask on her Facebook for people to call the hospital and demand answers.

Her post read:

ATTENTION FRIENDS PLEASE PLEASE SEE THIS, Mission hospital has overnight fired their Rape kit nurses, and closed down their sexual assault forensic testing department, that means Victims have to go to Harlingen to receive a rape kit. I need you all to call the ER department (956) 323–9000, i need you to ask for the ER, then when you get transferred, ask to speak to the ER manger and i need you to ask them, “MY name is ___, and i wanted to know why is it that you guys decided to get rid of the department that conducts Rape kits for victims?” These two nurses serve Hildago, star county and some of lorado, There is literally only ONE location to serve the entire RGV, and even at that, Harlingen doesn’t even know if they can handle the load because they are down to 3 or so nurses to process victims kits, please share, please call, please be loud, our community is hurt by this, we CANNOT go backwards.

After calling the hospital, she posted this update:

I got into contact with their marketing department, they say they are going to call me back with an explanation, i don’t buy that, and i am not letting this go, we as a community, deserve better, we deserve answers, and this decision was made more then likely for monetary reasons as rape kits don’t bring in money, the kit is only covered by the state once they move forward with pressing charges and only then, the cost of the nurses falls on the hospital itself, so my feelings is they thought i too costly to keep a department who makes no money, to that i say SO WHAT money is not as important as the community of victims WHO NEED THESE SERVICES TO GET JUSTICE.

Stay tuned for updates.

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