Hospital Staff Who Suspected Patient Was Human Trafficking Victim Help Reunite Her With Family

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Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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Perceptive hospital staff in Kentucky helped reunite a missing woman who was a suspected victim of human trafficking victim with her family after noticing unusual signs, WAVE reported Wednesday.

Emergency Department staff at the University of Louisville Hospital said they sensed something didn’t feel right in March when they were treating a 20-year-old woman from Georgia, according to WAVE.

“It was in the middle of the night,” Emily Thomas, one of the medical staff members, said. “She had nowhere to go.”

Thomas recalled speaking with Ashley Huskey, second staff member, and telling her that she suspected the patient could be trafficked

“I remember talking with Ashley and I think my exact words to her were ‘I’m concerned she could be trafficked,’ not that she was actively being trafficked.”

Along with Kalyn Scheidler, another staff member, the three decided not to discharge the woman, but instead followed their instincts by searching the woman’s name on the internet.

“My gut was telling me to put her name in the Google search bar,” Huskey said, according to WAVE. “So, I did and she popped up as a missing person.”

“There were ads; she was all over Facebook profiles and everything,” she added.

Thomas told WAVE that she got “full chills” when one of the other staff members texted her with the results of the internet search. The woman had been missing for half a year. (RELATED: Authorities Arrest Family Of 4 For Sex-Trafficking Waitresses Out Of Local Restaurant)

“I looked at Ashley and was like, ‘Oh my gosh, did we really just find somebody that was a missing person?’”

The three hospital staff members were surprised when the woman virtually appeared at a ceremony held Wednesday to honor the team members. The ceremony was for the Daisy Award for Extraordinary Nursing Teams. 

The woman and her mother thanked the staff members for reuniting them. “Words can’t express how I felt when I got that call,” the mother reportedly said.

The hospital staff members said seeing the woman reunited with her family was an emotional experience, and they were following instinct and training protocol when the patient alarmed them.

According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, health care providers can potentially recognize victims of human trafficking by paying attention for a number of “red flags.”

Patients who share a “scripted or inconsistent history,” are unable to provide his or her address, or are unwilling to answer questions about injuries, may be victims of trafficking, according to the center’s list.