When Doctor’s Hospital at Deer Creek was purchased by Allegiant the Vernon Parish Coroner’s Office Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) room began preparing for a move.

The planned move was forced to happen a lot sooner than expected after it was learned that the purchase of Doctor’s Hospital at Deer Creek by Allegiant would go into effect at 12:01 A.M. January 1, 2019.

This news forced Brenda Knotts Willis and the staff who operate the Vernon Parish Coroner’s Office Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) room to move to another location by midnight on New Year’s Eve.

At 3:00 p.m. on New Year’s Eve Willis confirmed that as soon as the sale went into effect no medical care is allowed to happen at Deer Creek until the newly acquired hospital is inspected and certified by the Louisiana Department of Health.

Between 5-7 p.m. she and the staff were moving the equipment to their new location.

In an effort to keep the much-needed SART program active, Byrd Hospital donated a private exam room in the hospital to allow to the Coroner’s office staff to use for the SART program.

“It provides a safe environment for us to perform the exams we need to do,” said Willis.

Willis said that is it very much a collaborative effort with Byrd Hospital, the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Leesville Police Department and the staff of the Vernon Parish Coroner’s Office who help keep the SART program running.

The SART program is a safe place where a victim of a sexual assault can be evaluated and treated and have the option to report the assault, or not, to law enforcement.

The service is available to all genders and ages 24 hours a day by calling 337-208-SART (7278).