The purpose of this study is to determine how pediatric patients and/or their parents being
interviewed and examined for suspected sexual assault perceive their experiences in the emergency department.
A prospective study was conducted at an emergency department. A convenience sample was enrolled from
September 2007 to February 2009. At the completion of the medical examination, patients and/or parents were asked to
take part in a survey.
A total of 87 completed questionnaires were collected; 50 completed by parents/guardians and 37 completed by
the patients; 14 patients had both parent and patient questionnaires completed. Of all 87 respondents, 74% of parents and
65% of the patients rated the overall quality of care as excellent, 90% of parents and 70.3% of patients rated the physician
kindness as excellent, and 90% and 86.5% respectively rated the nurse kindness as excellent. Of the 50 patients, 35.1%
patients found the exam sometimes or very painful and 40.5% found the exam scary sometimes to extremely scary.
Patients who perceived the exam painful or scary did not rate their quality of medical care as lower than those who did not
find the exam painful or scary, p=0.513 and p=0.800 respectively.
Encouragingly, the emergency department environment did not cause higher levels of distress, anxiety or
discomfort than other groups of patients evaluated in child abuse evaluation centers.