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Medical FAQs

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What happens during the medical exam?

One of our specially trained nurses will meet with guardians and/or the child to discuss health history and answer any questions about the exam. The nurse will then measure height and weight, check vital signs, listen to the heart and lungs, and look in the ears, mouth and eyes. A full head to toe exam of the child’s skin is conducted, including an external genital and anal exam. This is a great opportunity for the nurse to answer any questions the child may have about the body as it relates to anything that has happened to them. It is also an opportunity for the nurse to reassure the child about their health moving forward. Throughout the course of the examination photo documentation is collected when indicated. Follow up labs are sometimes recommended. 


A medical exam was already completed by a different provider. Does the child need another exam?

All children evaluated at Emma’s House are encouraged to have an exam at our facility.  Our nurses are specially trained in the field of maltreatment and the exam conducted at Emma’s House is specific to documenting and evaluating a child’s potential injuries and risk factors relative to their experience.  The assessment and documentation of the exam by a specially trained RN is recommended. 


Will the exam hurt?

Most children experience no pain throughout the exam. Permission is always asked of the child before any part of the exam is completed.


Can a parent or guardian be in the room during the exam?

We prefer to give children an opportunity to ask questions and express concerns about their body to the nurse without a parent or guardian present. However, children are told that they can request their parent or guardian be brought into the exam room at any time.


Where will the exam take place?

All of our services are offered under one roof at Emma’s House Child Advocacy Center - 310 North 4th Street in Hamilton MT.


Why does a child need a medical exam?

The primary goal of the medical exam is to ensure the health and well-being of the child.  It is important that any injuries or infections are identified for the health of the child. It is also important for children to have an opportunity to meet with a medical professional, ask questions and be reassured that their body will be healthy moving forward, despite anything that has happened to them. 


The abuse happened a long time ago, is an exam still necessary?

Yes. Evidence of previous injury may still be seen. Regardless, it is likely the child continues to have worry about their body and an opportunity to ask questions and receive reassurance about their health can be beneficial.


Will the child be tested for sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) or pregnancy?

Testing will be offered for sexually-transmitted infections or pregnancy when indicated. Most of this testing can be completed by collecting a urine sample during the child’s exam.

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What should I tell a child about the exam?

Explanations should be age appropriate, but honesty is best. The exam can be compared to a check-up at the doctor’s office, but it’s important to share that no shots will be given at Emma’s House.

If there is no evidence, does that mean nothing happened? Will that hurt the investigation?

No. Evidence of injury is not likely to be seen given that children heal quickly, tend to disclose abuse long after it has occurred, and often don’t scar with certain types of injuries.

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