Freeman Health System Receives Donated Go Bags from Wyandotte Nation to Comfort Sexual Assault Victims

Image Credit: Freeman Health System

(Joplin, MO)Freeman Health System’s Emergency Department received an unexpected gift in the form of 100 “go bags” courtesy of the Wyandotte Nation.

Each bag, color-coded by size, contains a fresh set of women’s clothing, along with toiletries and other essentials.

“They will be much appreciated by our patients,” said Karen Scott, Freeman Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program Coordinator. “We sometimes have to collect their clothing and they don’t have replacements or very little belongings.”

Freeman’s SANE program offers comprehensive and compassionate care at the Freeman Hospital West Emergency Department for victims of sexual assault, where specially trained nurses collect evidence of the assault.

Go bags are important items for hospitals to have on hand because, during a typical SANE examination, a patient’s clothing will be collected as evidence. Each bag includes a full outfit, a toiletry kit, and fidget spinners to help deal with anxiety.

“Since the pandemic, domestic violence and sexual assault rates have increased,” said Gabby Ezell, who serves with Wyandotte Nation’s Family Violence Prevention Program. “We hope these bags offer some sliver of comfort to these survivors on potentially the worst day of their lives. Something so simple as a clean outfit can have a great impact when your life is turned upside down.”

Using federal COVID-19 funding, Wyandotte Nation members assembled hundreds of bags, donating them to both Freeman Health System and the Community Crisis Shelter in Miami, Oklahoma.

“We are so grateful the Freeman SANE program exists, and there’s somewhere reliable we can send clients to and feel comfortable they will receive the great care they need,” Ezell said. “We’ve had many clients who have waited hours in an emergency room just to be told there was no SANE nurse available. They would then have to drive an hour-plus to Joplin to receive the necessary care after such a traumatic event.”

To learn more about Freeman’s SANE program, call 417.347.7263.


Kevin McClintock
Freeman Health System

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