How blue light technology is helping victims of violence

How blue light technology is helping victims of violence

When doctors want to examine the body beyond their naked eye, they may turn to medical imaging like x-rays or ultrasounds. For forensic nurses, their tool is a blue or purple light.

At Aurora Health Care, a special camera with a blue light filter allows forensic nurses to capture clearer images of injuries, particularly those caused by sexual assault or domestic violence. According to Sharain Anderson, vice president of Well Community at Aurora Health Care, the camera acts as a pair of sunglasses on a bright, sunny day.

“When using the camera, everything becomes much clearer. It takes away some of the light that may be distorting our ability to see what’s already there,” explains Anderson. “The camera has increased our ability to document injuries and validate what has happened to victims.”

To use the SDFI Camera System, forensic nurses start by putting on a pair of yellow glasses before taking photographs of the skin, eyes and back of the throat. Forensic nurses are looking for traces of petechiae, which are tiny spots indicating bleeding under the skin, as well as bodily fluids and bruises.

According to research published by the National Institute of Justice, blue or purple light is five times better than white light at detecting bruises on patients with dark skin tones.

“This blue light technology allows us to provide the same level of care and injury identification for patients that are of dark complexion, just as we can for patients with fair skin,” says Anderson.

Anderson says it’s up to the patient to decide where those images go next. The photos can be shared with law enforcement to aid in a criminal investigation, or the patient may choose to do nothing.

“Just because we have the technology, doesn’t mean we need to use the technology. Our doors are always open to help survivors, whether they are coming in with sexual assault needs or domestic violence needs. We’re here for you when you’re ready,” says Anderson.

If you’re a survivor of sexual assault or domestic violence, we’re here to provide confidential support when you need it. Look here if you live in Wisconsin. Look here if you live in Illinois.

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About the Author

Danielle Mandella
Danielle Mandella

Danielle Mandella, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator in Greater Milwaukee, Wis.