Greenville, N.C. ECU Health’s EastCare team was awarded MedEvac Transport of the Year by the Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS) for their initial transport of East Carolina University freshman Parker Byrd and subsequent transports throughout his recovery. The EastCare air medical team, Steve Bonn, pilot, Henry Gerber, EMT, Milando Stancill, EMT, Leigh Ann Creech, communication technician, Jessica Rispoli, flight RN and John vonRosenberg, flight paramedic, accepted the award on Oct. 26 for their efforts rendering life-saving care to Byrd.

On July 23, 2022, Byrd, an incoming freshman and baseball player at ECU, was boating in a remote creek when his legs were cut by the propeller, resulting in severe trauma. A friend and teammate was able to pull him back in the boat and immediately applied a makeshift tourniquet. First responders on the scene recognized the severity of his injuries and requested air medical transport. The EastCare air medical team jumped into action, rendering life-saving trauma care on the flight to ECU Health Medical Center, the only Level 1 Trauma Center east of Raleigh.

“EastCare team members dedicate themselves to ensuring the people of eastern North Carolina who live in vast, rural areas have access to timely and life-saving care,” said Trey Labreque, director of EastCare. “Thanks to the quick actions of everyone involved, including Beaufort County EMS for their initial response and clear communications with the flight crew, the transition of care was quick and efficient, and the patient made it to the trauma center stabilized, which is our objective as a flight team. This award is testament to all EastCare team members who live the ECU Health mission.”

Quick actions by the flight crew dramatically improved Byrd’s vital signs prior to arriving at ECU Health Medical Center. Flight nurses administered plasma, blood products and treatment for traumatic hemorrhagic shock during the air transport. In the following weeks, due to the severity of injury, the EastCare team provided Byrd transportation to the wound care center twice daily, multiple times per week to receive specialized care and hyperbaric treatments at ECU Health’s Wound Healing Center.

“The EastCare team has been nothing but phenomenal to me,” said Byrd. “From day one, they were doing their job to the best of their ability. I want to thank each and every person on the EastCare team for what they have done for me.”

Byrd was discharged in mid-August, nearly one month after his injury. After 22 surgeries and a partial leg amputation, Byrd continues to undergo outpatient care and rehabilitation in his recovery process. Byrd plans to continue classes at ECU and practice with the baseball team while he undergoes rehabilitation.

Please join ECU Health in recognizing the EastCare team for their rescue of Byrd and their efforts to render emergency care to all patients across eastern North Carolina.

Awards | EastCare | Emergency & Trauma | Featured | Press Releases

An EastCare team member prepares for a shift

An EastCare team member prepares for a shiftGreenville, N.C. – June 2, 2021 – Vidant Health is proud to announce that EastCare – the premier medical transportation agency in the region – recently became one of the first medical flight programs in North Carolina to carry O Negative Whole Blood, which will help improve patient survivability in eastern North Carolina. Whole Blood contains all the components of blood that the body loses during trauma events and helps replenish all necessary blood components.

“Vidant Health serves a vast rural environment with long distances in between towns and sometimes between providers,” said Chuck Strickland, Outreach Coordinator. “Trauma patients often need immediate treatment, and that’s what the O Negative Whole Blood allows us to do. Helicopters carrying O Negative Whole Blood can increase the chance of survivability of trauma patients in eastern North Carolina while being transported from these rural areas to hospitals.”

O Negative is the rarest blood type and compatible with all other blood types, making it an important life-saving intervention for those suffering from serious traumatic events. EastCare collaborated with the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University to obtain the O Negative Whole Blood from the American Red Cross.

Recent studies show that patients who receive Whole Blood products early typically require less blood transfusions while in the hospital. This may also improve 24-hour patient survival by 23 percent and reduce the patient’s length of stay, according to a recent study.

“O Negative Whole Blood is vitally important to our collective mission because it is a universal donor,” said Dr. Darla Liles, ECU Professor of Medicine and Chairman of the Vidant Patient Blood Management Committee. “This blood can be administered quickly in the field when a patient has suffered a serious trauma and is bleeding too rapidly to make it back to the hospital. Our Vidant Patient Blood management committee is thrilled to work with EastCare to create this unique program, which has the potential to save lives here in eastern North Carolina.”

O Negative Whole Blood is carried on all 5 EastCare helicopters and can be utilized on ground ambulances as needed. In addition to the Whole Blood innovation, EastCare will continue to carry Fresh Plasma and Packed Red Blood Cells.

EastCare | Press Releases