GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – The life-saving measures taken by an eastern North Carolina medical team that kept a young man alive earlier this year was honored Monday.
East Carolina University Health’s EastCare team was awarded the MedEvac Transport of the Year Award for “their initial transport of East Carolina University freshman Parker Byrd and subsequent transports throughout his recovery,” an official news release said.
The team, comprised of 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 — but it was made public on Monday.
Byrd nearly died after having his leg ruptured in a boat propeller while tubing in July.
CBS 17’s sister stations WBTW and WNCT reported Byrd tried to get back on the boat he was riding on when his ski rope got caught in the propeller and pulled him toward it, eventually severely injuring him.
Initially, Byrd had part of his right leg amputated on Aug. 4, but doctors discovered his entire calf muscle was dead and ended up needing to amputate more of his leg.
ECU Health Medical Center is the only Level 1 Trauma Center east of Raleigh, where first responders had to get Byrd to save his life — only after a friend, and teammate, was able to pull him back aboard the boat and apply a makeshift tourniquet.
“The EastCare team has been nothing but phenomenal to me,” Byrd said. “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.”
Quick actions by the flight crew dramatically improved Byrd’s vital signs prior to arriving at ECU Health Medical Center, the release said.
Byrd was said to have received plasma, blood products and treatment for traumatic hemorrhagic shock during the air transport.
Despite these efforts, Byrd still went through 22 surgeries and had to be transported to wound care twice daily.
“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,” Trey Labreque said, the director of EastCare. “This award is testament to all EastCare team members who live the ECU Health mission.”