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Rural Adrian farmer injured in fall

ADRIAN -- A rural Adrian man is in a Sioux Falls, S.D., hospital after falling approximately 20 feet from a grain dryer on his farm Tuesday evening. Randy Lenz broke 10 vertebrae in his back, his left collarbone, right hip and 10 ribs on his left...

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Lenz

ADRIAN - A rural Adrian man is in a Sioux Falls, S.D., hospital after falling approximately 20 feet from a grain dryer on his farm Tuesday evening.

Randy Lenz broke 10 vertebrae in his back, his left collarbone, right hip and 10 ribs on his left side, and also sustained a skull fracture behind his left ear, according to journal entries written by his daughter, Sheila Erwin, on the CaringBridge website.

Via phone on Thursday, Erwin said her dad had just finished the 2018 harvest and decided to climb on top of the corn dryer to clean it out.

He doesn’t remember what had happened leading up to the fall, Erwin said. It’s believed he laid on the ground for up to a half-hour before being able to call his girlfriend, Jolene Klooster, to ask her to come out by the dryer.

The Adrian Ambulance and Lismore and Wilmont Rescue were dispatched to the scene, and Lenz was transported to Sanford Luverne ER before being airlifted to Sanford in Sioux Falls, where he remains in the intensive care unit.

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On Friday morning, he underwent surgery to have plates installed to secure his broken ribs.

His broken hip was repaired Wednesday, and the collarbone, vertebrae and skull fractures will be left to heal on their own.

Erwin said the neurosurgeon described the extent of Lenz’s broken vertebrae as “one of the most complex spinal fracture cases he has ever seen.”

Lenz sustained a transverse process fracture of the spine - considered a minor and stable lumbar spine fracture, noted Erwin. He will be fitted with a back brace, commonly referred to as a tortoise shell, to wear for the next two months.

Lenz has had his share of health issues this year. Last December, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma - a second bout with cancer after battling Hodgkin’s disease in the early 1980s. Lenz underwent chemotherapy treatments and then had a stem cell transplant in June. On Sept. 11, 100 days post-transplant, he was declared in remission, Erwin said.

“His bones were still a little sore from the stem cell transplant, but other than that he was feeling good,” Erwin said.

Now with the fall, she said, “We’ve decided he’s used eight of his nine lives.”

Doctors anticipate Lenz will remain in the hospital for about a week.

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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