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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Tuthill fits the bill

Lynn Tuthill (Brody School of Medicine) is an active volunteer with District 65 of the State Employees Association of North Carolina. Above, she displays the District of the Year award presented to the district. (Contributed photo)

By Judy Currin

Wanted: Individual possessing practically unlimited reserves of energy, a willingness to sacrifice untold hours of time in service to the community and a creative flair for documenting history in scrapbook format.

Position filled: by Lynn Tuthill, a remittance specialist in the Clinical Financial Services Department for the Brody School of Medicine, who applies her energy, time and creativity toward her volunteer work for District 65 in the State Employees Association of North Carolina.

Tuthill serves SEANC as a board member and volunteer action chair/historian. Her scrapbook – a yearly compilation of the organization’s activities – is more aptly described as a tome. Bulging to approximately four inches thick, the book is chockfull of news clippings, meeting minutes, flyers, board member profiles and awards, along with page after page of photographs, taken by Tuthill during district activities.

“We are a pretty busy group of volunteers,” said Tuthill, a second year inductee into ECU’s Servire Society.

A quick glance at the scrapbook makes it clear. This group has worked hard to earn the many honors they have received, including the District of the Year for 2008-2009 and for 2009-2010.

Leafing through the initial pages of the scrapbook, one might see photographic documentation of the group’s participation in Pitt County’s Relay for Life, an overnight event that celebrates the lives of those who have battled cancer and remembers loved ones lost.

“We raised approximately $7,000 for the American Cancer Society,” said Tuthill. She said the district has had a team in the Pitt County Relay for more than 15 years, raising approximately $50,000 altogether.

Farther along in the scrapbook, photos appear from the annual golf tournament, which raises funds for SEANC’s scholarship program. “Every year, our organization provides $50,000 in scholarship grants for members and their dependents statewide,” Tuthill said. “Locally, we provide a total of $1,500.”

Scrapbook pages also document the election of new officers, membership drives, lobbying activities, luncheons, meetings, training, and donations to families. Special emphasis is given to volunteer work for the Children’s Miracle Network Celebration broadcast, which provides equipment and services for sick and injured children and their families, and Habitat for Humanity, which constructs affordable homes in an effort to eliminate poverty.

In December, page after page illustrates the group’s numerous efforts to help families in need. As part of their holiday activities, Tuthill said, the group decorates miniature Christmas trees each year for a local nursing home and participates in the Club Rudolph program through the Greenville Community Shelter, which helps families needing assistance.

“Each year we adopt two children,” Tuthill said. “The district donates $150.00 per child towards the purchase of Christmas gifts from their wish list.”

Of all the pages in the book, Tuthill finds the Relay for Life images the most compelling. That event is “closest to my heart,” she said. “Cancer has taken several people who were close to me. I pray and hope one day in my lifetime, they will find a cure.”

As evidenced by her arduous work on the scrapbook, Tuthill always applies her best efforts to the work for SEANC District 65. Debbie Austin, SEANC treasurer and scholarship chair, said, “Lynn goes above and beyond what is needed for all the projects she does.”

“Her vision is to take any cause and make it a success for the greater good.”

SEANC is a 55,000-member association committed to protecting and enhancing the rights and benefits of current, retired and future state employees. Local members meet on the third Tuesday of every month at Lakeside Annex 1. Tuthill encourages all ECU employees to attend meetings and join a district that thrives on giving back to the community.

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The SEANC scrapbook illustrates many hours of volunteer efforts completed through the organization. As SEANC historian, Tuthill puts the book together. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

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