TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - A freak accident at a local church daycare lands one child in the hospital. It happened January 23rd at 4:47 p.m. It’s a date and time that will always stick out in mother Leaerin Fortner’s mind. That's when she called 9-1-1 as her little boy was badly hurt at daycare.
Fortner was just showing up to the daycare to pick up her four sons. She recalls, "I immediately hear, 'Don't climb on that, get off of there!' followed by two pretty terrifying crashes."
The scary situation would unfold in minutes.
Fortner says, "I see my oldest child who is 10, standing, holding this foldable stage, he's holding it up and his leg is underneath it and I see blood. I get over there and start to lift it off of what I’m assuming is my oldest child."
But to Leaerin's horror, she finds her 8-year-old, Jon Porter, pinned under the stage's frame.
The mother recalls, "He’s screaming to get off his head, his head hurts, he's throwing his legs. You know he's not meaning to, but he's probably kicked me in the face 20 times by now."
After Leaerin's call to 9-1-1, Jon is taken by ambulance to Terre Haute Regional Hospital.
She says, "I didn't know what was going on because I hadn't actually got to talk to the doctor yet. I had just heard we were getting airlifted to Riley (Hospital for Children in Indianapolis), and the doctor comes in and tells me he's got a decompressed skull fracture, where the skull is pushing on his brain."
Later that night, Jon underwent surgery to pull the skull back into place and set it with screws and plates.
Leaerin says doctors are hopeful his skull will repair itself, (there are still soft spots), but in young children, it can go either way.
She says, "He has physical therapy twice a week, he will start speech therapy this week. With it being an injury to the right side of his brain and it being so close to his motor functions, there's a possibility that the left side motor skills will be damaged. Which is scary, because he’s left-handed."
If it's one thing she's learned from this experience, it's to talk to your children about being aware of their surroundings.
The mother says, "I never thought I would need to sit down and tell my children, 'Look around you. If there's something that can fall on you, don't play by it.' You think somebody would be watching to tell your child that."
News 10 reached out to the church where Jon’s daycare is held, and they didn't want to comment on the accident.
Between surgery, therapies, ambulance rides, hospital stays, and travel, the medical bills are piling up fast. Fortner says the issue now is the church's insurance.
She says, "Basically what it boils down to is they've told us, 'Your child is on Medicaid. So, Medicaid will cover it, we don't need to.' And it's not Medicaid's job at this point to cover this injury. This is their expense."
What Fortner is saying is the insurance company wants the taxpayers to foot the bill. Until Fortner can get things sorted out with the insurance company, she says her family is in need of financial help.
A Go Fund Me page is set up in Jon’s honor if you'd like to donate to cover his medical expenses.
You can find it by clicking here.