Doctor Recounts Saving Sugarland Fans After Stage Collapse
A Chicago area doctor who rushed from the grand stand to the stage to help trapped Sugarland fans on Saturday night says the first organized response came from concertgoers. Dr. Dean Silas tells the Chicago Sun Times that it took 10 minutes for paramedics to arrive.
"There was no organized command or structure,' Silas says. "It was all spectators." Silas is the director of gastroenterology at Advocate Luthern General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. It had been over 20 years since he last worked in an emergency room, and the night's makeshift triage drills bore no resemblance to what he remembered.
"I certainly know how to manage critical injuries," he says. "There were injured individuals screaming." Silas and his wife were visiting their daughter, who is a big Sugarland fan. Together that sat in the grand stand, watching the storm blow in and take down the temporary structure. "You could see the stage collapse almost in slow motion."
The Chicago Sun Times reports that a stage electrician cut the power off soon after the collapse, so none of the initial rescuers -- many medically trained -- were in danger of being electrocuted. They began making stretchers out of wooden pallets and folding tables. Someone found plastic sheets to cover the four dead bodies. One other person died overnight at the hospital.
“It was absolutely unbelievable, and it was like a movie, because this thing fell so slow,” Silas recalls. “You knew there was horror happening.” After paramedics arrived, they quickly organized command and asked most people to leave the scene. Silas helped out for another 20 minutes or so before finding his family.