Medical staff claims it’s nothing short of a miracle that Russ Fitzke fared so well after falling 16 feet from a forklift Sunday afternoon, landing on cement.
Although he’s uncomfortable with a fractured skull, six broken ribs in back, two broken ribs in front, a fractured pelvis, broken tailbone, fractured bones around the eye and a three-inch laceration on the forehead, everyone is amazed that there is no brain trauma and no surgery is required, according to his wife, Peggy.
Mrs. Fitzke witnessed the accident from the seat of the forklift which was in park. They were installing lights in their new shop by their home, four miles west of Imperial on the Champion highway.
She thought he landed on his head but it’s been determined he probably lit on his right side.
“I thought he was dead,” Mrs. Fitzke said as she recalls the traumatic experience.
He never lost consciousness but doesn’t remember the fall. She, however, will never forget watching her husband step back into thin air, bouncing off the cement when he fell to the ground.
He conversed with her but started having convulsions with extensive blood loss.
Deputy Spencer Rowley from the Chase County Sheriff’s Department was first on the scene. The Chase County ambulance crew transported Fitzke to Chase County Community Hospital and he was later flown to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Lakewood, Colo.
Mrs. Fitzke rode to the hospital with her sister, Heidi Jablonski, and Heidi’s daughter-in-law, Johna. The Fitzkes’ three children, Jesse of Scottsbluff, Cole of Texas and Jackie of Hastings all came as soon as they could, despite weather conditions and Fitzke’s brother, Roger, flew in from Lincoln.
The kids always thought their dad was Super Man, Mrs. Fitzke shared. “Now they know he is.” He’s already talking about getting the lights up and how he’s going to do it different next time.
Daughter Jackie said her father was moved from the Intensive Care Unit Tuesday night and could be dismissed within three to four days if he meets certain requirements.
Fitzke’s wife and daughter both expressed ultimate gratitude for the unbelievable support and compassion they’ve received.
“The prayers, calls and messages have been such a comfort,” said Mrs. Fitzke.
Fitzke’s coworkers from Steve Wallin Farms and other family members made the trek to the hospital. The hospital address is Russ Fitzke, St. Anthony’s Hospital Room 342, 11600 W. 2nd Place, Lakewood CO 80228. Otherwise cards will await him at home at 32821 S-15A, Imperial NE 69033.