EMS personnel work on a mock patient during a Prom Promise event, designed to inform students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

ECU Health EastCare participated in the impactful Prom Promise initiative, engaging students at both Perquimans County High School and Richlands High School on April 23 and 24, respectively. The objective was clear: to dissuade teens from driving under the influence during prom season through vivid reenactments of motor vehicle accidents.

Before the re-enactment, students were presented with facts about the dangers of drinking and driving. According to Prom Promise’s founding organization The Prevention Network, one-third of all teen deaths occur in alcohol-related collisions between April and June, and nearly 41% of teens ages 16-19 are likely to drink or use drugs during or after prom.

Chuck Strickland, EastCare’s outreach coordinator at ECU Health, expressed the initiative’s goal of leaving a lasting impression on students, steering them away from driving under any form of impairment.

EMS personnel work on a mock patient during a Prom Promise event, designed to inform students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

The events featured realistic depictions of crashed vehicles, complete with students portraying injuries resulting from the collisions. The students witnessed the arrival of first responders who initiated care and extricated individuals with the Jaws of Life, a tool used by emergency rescue personnel to assist in the extrication of victims involved in vehicle accidents. An EastCare helicopter landed on the scene as part of the demonstration, underscoring the importance of quick response required in such emergencies.

“I want to extend my heartfelt appreciation to our local first responders for their invaluable partnership and unwavering dedication in making our DWI reenactment crash demonstration a success,” said Steve Clarke, principal, Richlands High School. “Their professionalism, expertise and commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of our students and community are truly commendable. We are grateful for their continued support and collaboration in our efforts to educate and empower our students to make responsible choices and prioritize safety at all times.”

Through collaborative efforts and a commitment to education, ECU Health and its partners aspire to instill responsible decision-making and prioritize safety among students – not only during prom season but throughout their lives.

Community | EastCare | Emergency & Trauma

ECU Health team members gather around the flag pole in front of ECU Health Medical Center for a Veterans Day recognition event.

In recognition of Veterans Day, ECU Health’s nine hospitals across eastern North Carolina took a moment to come together at 9:05 a.m. Thursday to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and recognize the service and sacrifice of those that have served in the United States military.

The events across the system recognized more than 500 Veteran and active-duty team members at ECU Health, along with the many Veterans at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.

At ECU Health Medical Center, Veteran team members, spouses and team members at-large gathered around the flag pole in front of the hospital to reflect and celebrate.

The ceremony included a moment of silence and reflection, as well as a roll call for each branch of the military. ECU Health Chief Operating Officer and ECU Health Medical Center President Brian Floyd shared remarks during the event and said it’s an honor to work with Veterans who choose to continue their life of service in health care.

ECU Health team members gather around the flag pole in front of ECU Health Medical Center for a Veterans Day recognition event.
ECU Health team members gather around the flag pole in front of ECU Health Medical Center for a Veterans Day recognition event.

“When we say thank you, we say thank you for your service then, but we’re really saying thank you for caring enough to serve, for being willing to give your life in service to something bigger than you,” Floyd said, “evidenced by the fact that you served in the military, then you chose to come to Greenville, North Carolina at ECU Health and continue to serve the needs of others.”

Dr. Tim Weiner, pediatric surgeon and Surgeon-in-Chief at Maynard Children’s Hospital, served in the Navy as a Commander and retired from the military in 2019. He said the event was a great opportunity to recognize what it means to give your life to service, both in the military and in health care.

“I’m a service-oriented person, the institution is as well and I think it’s very important to focus on something bigger than yourself and this event commemorates that,” Dr. Weiner said. “We have to look beyond ourselves and share the gifts and talents we have. The mission of ECU Health really aligns with that personal ethic for me.”

Army services prepares flight nurse for time with EastCare

Paul Johnson, flight nurse with EastCare at ECU Health, joined the Army as he’d always dreamed and served as an airborne infantryman. He said his time in the military prepared him for his role as a flight nurse.

Johnson’s teams have always been first on the scene, from his time as a paratrooper to his current role in EastCare. He said it’s a position he’s learned to thrive off of and embrace.

“The Army taught me to continue functioning under stress. To be successful and to make sure that patient has a good outcome, you have to focus on the task,” Johnson said. “You have to maintain focus on the patient, just like in the Army you have to maintain focus on the task, on the situation. That has helped me a lot.”

After his time in the Army, Johnson went to school and began working at ECU Health Medical Center as a nurse in the Medical Intensive Care Unit. There, he said, he learned from many mentors how to be a great nurse before he transitioned to his current role as a flight nurse.

In gratitude

ECU Health would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to our Veteran team members and all Veterans for their service to our country.

Community | EastCare

Parker Byrd and his care team pose for a photo outside of an ECU Health EastCare ambulance to celebrate the Patient Transport of the Year Award.

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.

Parker Byrd and his care team pose for a photo outside of an ECU Health EastCare ambulance to celebrate the Patient Transport of the Year Award.

“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