Making a Difference

Jane Pollock (Brody School of Medicine) has volunteered with emergency medical services since 1982. (Contributed photo)

Pollock aims to make a difference

By Judy Currin

The year was 1982.

ECU Chancellor John Howell called for an increase in research and public service during his annual faculty convocation, the university registered a record official enrollment of 13,300 students, the School of Medicine found a permanent home in the new Brody Medical Science Building and Jane Pollock began her volunteer service for Pitt County.

Pollock began as one of the original emergency medical service crew members on the first day of operations for Eastern Pines Rescue. She remains the only active paramedic in the county from the first Pitt County paramedic graduating class.

Pollock, training specialist in the Brody School of Medicine, attributes her initial interest in emergency medicine to an automobile accident she and her husband, John, witnessed two years earlier.

“We were following a pickup truck that veered off the right shoulder, overcorrected and ultimately flipped,” Pollock said. “The passenger was ejected from the vehicle, rendering him unconscious.”

While she was able to determine that the injured man was still breathing, her ability to aid was limited.
Some months later the fire department for the community of  Eastern Pines decided to develop an EMS squad. Pollock joined the basic EMT class.

Then a stay-at-home mother of daughter Gwen and son Matthew, she volunteered while they were in school, logging more than 2,000 hours of service a year. She served as scheduler, secretary and lieutenant before becoming the unit’s first female captain.

Pollock joined Brody School of Medicine’s Department of Emergency Medicine in 1990. Qualified as an NC Level II EMS instructor, EMT-paramedic and an emergency medical dispatcher, Pollock has conducted countless training sessions.

“The program for medical responder covers topics on general medical emergencies, CPR and traumatic injuries to prepare those who may be the first to arrive at the scene of an emergency,” Pollock said.
Basic emergency medical technicians training is more advanced, with emphasis on evaluating diagnostic signs, determining the extent of an injury or illness, provide emergency patient care and transport through classroom and clinical training.

“Usually a two year commitment that includes classroom, clinical and field internship, as well as the successful completion of courses in anatomy and physiology, is required to become a paramedic,” Pollock said.

“Conducted over four semesters, the course is designed to educate individuals who have no medical training.” Invasive skills and comprehensive assessments enable trainees to provide advanced life support to the ill or injured patient.

Pollock has conducted training sessions throughout the state adjusting the educational programs to meet the needs of a particular county.  “Literacy levels, economics, the availability of physicians’ offices and nursing homes dictate program emphasis,” Pollock said.

These days, her primary role for the Division of Emergency Medical Services is quality management. She responds to complaints or concerns involving any Pitt County EMS personnel. She works with Dr. Juan March, an emergency physician and Pitt County EMS medical director, to determine if any educational remediation or other action is required.

“Everyone is tested before they ever function on an EMS truck,” Pollock said.

And while on any given day, stacks of call reports await her review, Pollock keeps a hands on approach with a constant desire to provide the best possible patient care out in the field.

“Our mission is to provide and continue to improve the quality of health care services whenever and wherever the patient needs them,” she said.

“It is all about making a difference in their time of need.”

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