exam room

The sexual assault exam room helps patients feel more comfortable in a private setting. Many donations and caregivers worked together to create the room.

Any modern hospital or doctor’s office, including those in St. Joseph, uses an array of high-end medical equipment for diagnostic and treatment purposes. All this technology doesn’t come cheap.

Mosaic Life Care’s latest financial statements, available for public viewing because its bonded debt is sold on open markets, shows that supplies are second only to salaries as an operating expense. This could include paper towels, but the bigger cost driver would likely involve things like new CT scanners and 3-D imaging equipment. You’ll be glad for it if the doctor spots something during a routine exam.

This focus on technology is not unique to St. Joseph. The global medical equipment market is estimated to reach $409 billion by 2023. Moody’s, a credit rating agency, believes the medical technology industry is on stronger financial footing than either hospitals or pharmaceutical companies.

But big improvements at a hospital don’t have to break the budget. One example jumped out as us last month when Mosaic unveiled a private exam room for victims of sexual assault.

Caregivers and the hospital auxiliary helped generate funding to make this exam room a reality. Victims, who previously were examined in a crowded emergency department, will receive care in a more confidential environment. Hospital officials said the room is still located within the emergency department for safety reasons.

The new room allows a victim who experienced the trauma of sexual assault to enter a warmer, less-sterile hospital setting. There are inspirational messages on the wall, a handmade blanket and a private shower to provide a sense of cleanliness, recovery and control.

“It doesn’t take away from what happened, but to help them know that there are people here that care for them,” one Mosaic official told News-Press NOW.

The need is there. Crime statistics on the city of St. Joseph website show 37 reported rapes in St. Joseph last year. The numbers are trending downward so far this year, with 16 rapes reported through the month of July.

We know that sexual assault is an underreported crime for reasons of stigma as well as difficulty investigating and prosecuting these kinds of cases. Perhaps a room at Mosaic doesn’t change those dynamics, but the least that victims can hope for is to begin the journey to recovery in an environment of compassion and respect.

The addition of a private exam room is a step forward in that regard, making it a welcome addition to those who may find themselves there.

Hopefully, this relatively low-tech hospital improvement will be used infrequently. But we are glad that it’s there.