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ECU doctors responding to 911 calls

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -

A partnership among first responders is saving lives. ECU doctors are now riding along on some EMS calls. 5 of them are now on a rotating schedule.

Doctors like Jeffrey Ferguson are also rolling up to the scene. "We're really there to help the paramedics and EMS crews out more than anything."

Ferguson and five other doctors have been doing so since January. So far the team has responded to about 100 calls. "We definitely try to go to mass casualty incidents like bus accidents, cardiac arrest, where a patient may have suffered a sudden cardiac collapse in the home." Ferguson said.

Through a smart phone app, East Carolina University doctors are able to determine if they are needed at a scene. The “Active 911” application sends a push notification to the doctor’s smart phones. It contains basic dispatch information.

"It’s based on text messaging that is pushed to cellular providers and is pulled from information fields from our 911 computer system." EMS Deputy Director Jack Cote said.

The system that has proven to be effective is sponsored by three agencies: Pitt County, The City of Greenville and ECU.

"Pitt County government provided the unit, and pays for the insurance on an annual basis. The city of Greenville provides fuel and maintenance for the vehicle and the Brody School of Medicine provides the physicians that staff the vehicle." Cote said. 

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