Ross Barker, 19, of Zearing, was severely injured in a farm accident near Zearing this past Friday (March 16).
His mother, Jodi Barker, said the accident happened around 11:30 that morning when Ross was unloading corn in a grain bin. “Ross had stepped out to open all the doors where the conveyor belt, that takes the grain out of the bin is, and he came back into the door, where there are holes, and he stepped into one of those holes. He didn’t notice it was there and his foot got tangled up in the belt.”
As a result, Barker’s foot had to be amputated.
Jodi said those working with him got the belt shut off and called 911. Zearing First Responders came and wanted to have him flown to Des Moines, but because of the wind, the helicopter couldn’t be sent. So, instead, he was taken by ambulance to the trauma center at Iowa Methodist Medical Center, where he is still hospitalized Monday.
“They assessed him in the emergency room (when he got there Friday),” his mother explained, “and determined they needed to amputate his left foot…to save everything else.” She explained that 3 to 4 inches of his shin bone was missing, and while his foot was still there when he arrived at the hospital, all his bones in that foot were crushed.
Between Friday and Monday, Ross underwent three surgeries, the last of which closed his leg and formed the stump on his left leg.
Jodi thought they would likely be at Methodist two more days, and then she and her husband, Jeremy, would take their son back to their home in Nevada while he is recovering and learning to get around. “The therapy people think he’ll move well on crutches,” she said, noting they had come in to go over various types of walking aids with him. Jodi said if all goes well with his healing process, he’ll be fitted for a prosthetic foot within six to eight weeks.
Jodi said the event has been very hard on Ross, who is a private, quiet person by nature. “He has had his ups and his downs; he’s emotional, but physically and mentally, he’s doing well,” she said. “He has so much family here and we’re not letting him be alone right now. He has support and love of so many, that I think he’s going to get through this and be just fine.” Included in the family members is Ross’ older brother, Jake, who his mother said has been right there with them.
Jodi said the thing Ross wants most to say right now is that he is “so thankful to those Zearing First Responders (and others who helped at the accident scene) and to everybody at Iowa Methodist Medical Center.”
Jodi said Ross fully plans to continue be a farm worker. “He wants to get back to that work. He’s hoping to be sitting in a tractor by the time planting season starts.”
Those who would like to send a card may mail those to Ross at his parents’ house: Jodi and Jeremy Barker, 2243 10th Street Place, Nevada, IA 50201.