Dateline   |  March 10, 2014

Twist of Fate, part 5

The life-saving efforts have moved from the fairgrounds to area hospitals. Two moms connect over their injured daughters as the tense hours turn to tense days.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> five people had already died in the wake of the collapse at the state fair . and now life saving efforts had smooufed from the fairgrounsds to several indianapolis hospitals.

>> here you've seen cars pull up and people sprinting in.

>> it was very chaotic. i don't think the hospitals were prepared but they did the best they could.

>> laura magjars was at methodist hospital being treated for a broken leg and other injuries, but that wasn't her biggest concern. her youngest daughter, 3-year-old maggie , in the pink tutu, had suffered a severe arm injury. laura had let complete strangers take her away.

>> i knew i didn't have a choice because if i waited for them to get all us of out of there at once, too much time would have gone by.

>> hours had passed since that fateful decision and laura had no idea if maggie had made it to the hospital or not.

>> horrible. it dragged and you can't help but fear the worst. i don't do helpless very well. and i was definitely helpless that night.

>> finally, laura got some news. maggie was alive but at a different hospital.

>> the first report i got was that maggie was stable but going to have surgery.

>> laura wanted to be by maggie 's side but because of her own injuries, doctors at methodist insisted she stay put.

>> i said my daughter's having surgery. she's 3. i need to be there.

>> you had all these injuries, yet it sounds like you weren't worried about yourself one bit.

>> no, not at all. my injuries were the least of my concerns.

>> finally, the doctors relented and nearly 12 hours after the collapse, laura was able to get to her little girl . mag day had just gotten 0 off the surgery.

>> one look at her broke my heart. i mean, she was pretty much asleep. she was on morphine.

>> but despite that terrifying arm injury, doctors told laura maggie was going to make it.

>> oh, it was great. i was so glad to see that she was going to be okay.

>> and that wasn't the only good news laura would get. she learned that her mother had been injured but was going to survive and her two older daughters were also okay. uninjured, in fact.

>> somehow they managed to find each other in the crowd and they were standing there alone and scared until a young couple came by and said, you know, let's help these girls.

>> when you got that final phone call that everyone was okay, your three daughters and your mom, what emotions were you feeling at that snoemt.

>> i could actually breathe. i told the doctor, okay, now you can give me some pain medicine .

>> back at methodist, those two other mothers were hoping for some good news of their own as they sat with their daughters in the neuro intensive care unit. melissa with megan and sandy with her daughter andrea .

>> did you read to her? did you talk to her? did you hold her hand?

>> we did all that. we put pictures in the room of her daughter and her family.

>> both suffered traumatic brain injuries . doctors had removed a portion of andrea 's zul to ease the brain swelling.

>> were you warned after the surgery she may still not survive?

>> yes. they really don't know. your brain controls so many things in your body.

>> as the tense hours of that first night turned into tense days of waiting and praying, melissa and sandy got to know one another.

>> they were just a very sweet family. they were very kind to us and our kids and seemed whatever happened to megan happened to andrea the next day.

>> we just shared a lot of our feelings about our families and what was going on with our daughters and, you know, what did they tell you today? this is what they told me today. it was helpful to have, you know, this other family to go through this with.

>> by wednesday, august 17th , four days after the collapse, the swelling in megan 's face began to subside.

>> we could finally see her eyelashes for the first time.

>> but despite everything the doctors were doing for her, megan 's condition was actually worsening.

>> that's still the ironic thing to me was that as the week went on and she started to look more and more like megan , on the outside, her body was shutting down on the inside.

>> sunday, august 21st , 8 days after the accident, doctors told melissa that her daughter megan would never talk again, see again, hear again, would never breathe on her own.

>> and he told us that -- i will never forget these words. that sometimes you do things for their life and that's what they had been doing but they had reached a point they were doing things to her life.

>> melissa and her husband now faced a heartwrenching decision. should they take megan off life support ?

>> i knew what megan wanted. as her mom, i think it would have been selfish not to do what she wanted. and she had said that she wanted to be an organ donor . she signed that card. she checked that box.

>> fitting, thought megan 's family, that her final act would be a selfless one for the benefit of strangers. and so her parents along with a younger sister and brother who looked up to her so much gathered to say one last good-bye.

>> to know you just have one day left with your child.

>> right.

>> what is that like?

>> i sat with her the whole time, held her hand. the rest of that day and all of the next day. and i couldn't go down with her to the surgery. my husband did go with her, though. and he kissed hoe eed her on the forehead and told her that we loved her.

>> what did you say to her when she left the room?

>> what we always said. i love you whole in this world. when she was a little girl , she always said i love you whole in this world. and even as an adult, she always said that.

>> it was august 22nd , 2011 . megan toothman, the seventh victim to die from the collapse, was 24 years old. just down the hall, andrea 's mom sandy couldn't believe the news.

>> we kind of kept thinking, okay, we've made it through another day. they're going to live. you know? it's going to be okay. and then, and then when they were told that she wasn't, then that just shocked all of us.

>> it was a twist of fate then that on that same day megan died, sandy's own daughter andrea did something that gave them a glimmer of hope.

>> she was playing there just motionless, just no movement at all, and all of a