Collapse victim visits hospital for emotional reunion
A mother and survivor injured in the State Fair stage collapse returned to the hospital today to thank those who cared for her through broken bones, pain, and family separation.
An emotional return to extend a heart of thanks to the hands that brought her healing.
"Everyone in this room saved my life," said victim Jill Polet. "You will never know how much you've done for me."
Polet and her daughter, Jaymie, came from their home in Cincinnati to deliver a sweet message to the trauma doctor, nurses and therapists who, in her words, put her back together again.
"I have lots of new parts," Polet laughed.
"She had several fractures in her face. She had a pelvic fracture and a lot of arterial bleeding come from her pelvic fracture, she had a collapsed left lung," said Dr. Christopher Bearden, IU trauma surgeon.
Now, to the amazement of those who saw her in those minutes after the stage collapse, gratitude and tears.
"It was chaotic. It was scary. It was frightening," said nurse Susan Barney.
No one understands what Polet went through more than Barney, an IU Health RN, who was at the concert, 29 rows back in the Sugar Pit.
"When I got underneath the stage, there were already policemen, EMTs, somebody was already with Jill," Barney said. "Jill doesn't remember, but I went under the stage that night and I spoke to Jill and her biggest concern was 'How are my girls?'"
Jaymie Polet, who traveled with her mom from Cincinnati had also been injured. She was taken to St. Vincent for treatment.
Then there was 10-year-old Jordyn.
In exclusive dispatch audio tapes obtained by 13 Investigates, around 9:52 that night, firefighters searched for the little girl that Jill pushed out of the way before the scaffolding hit.
"We have a repot of the possibility of a 10-year-old girl missing. Her mother doesn't know if she's been transported to the hospital or not."
"Alright. We'll get state police on that immediately."
"Do you have any description of the 10-year-old?"
"I remember Officer Stacey Brackman coming to my bedside and telling me that my 10-year-old was okay," Polet said.
"Jordyn said all she did was duck down and she heard it fall and she was, like, 'I'm okay. I'm okay.'," Jaymie Polet said.
Jill didn't know that. She also didn't know how Jaymie had fared. Donya Clark, Jill's critical care nurse, remembers her pressing questions.
"She asked about her girls. I got on the phone with the hospital where her daughter was at," Clark said.
With her girls safe, Polet could now focus on her own recovery, one that created a lifetime bond of friendship.
"The community has been amazing. My daughter is starting IU in January," she said.
"My mom's my everything, basically, and these people are the reason I still have a mom," Jaymie Polet said.
A fourth member of their concert party, friend Meagan Toothman, did not survive the collapse.
"Thankfully, I have my daughters and unfortunately, we lost our dear friend Meagan, who will always be with us in our hearts," Jill Polet said.
The emotion of the reunion wasn't lost on those who helped the night of the collapse.
"As a trauma surgeon, it's very unusual to have patients come back and actually thank you for the work you do," Bearden said.
"To see somebody up and back being a part of life again is inspiring as a nurse. It's very emotional, so it's good stuff," Clark said.