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Fargo newlyweds fight to save husband's arm after auger accident

Fargo couple Amy and Kyle Strom are seen shortly before their June wedding. Doctors in the Twin Cities are trying to save Kyle's arm after it was nearly torn off in an accident last week near Fosston, Minn. Photo special to The Forum

FARGO - Just six months into their marriage, Kyle and Amy Strom have a fight on their hands to save Kyle's right arm.

The longtime sweethearts from Fargo have been at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis since Jan. 9, when Kyle's arm was nearly ripped off after his glove got caught in an auger while testing soil samples near Fosston, Minn., for his new job.

Doctors had to remove the entire triceps muscle, leaving almost no tissue and exposing the bone. Amy said they remain positive, but she's worried the large wound could become infected, requiring amputation.

"I'm doing OK," she said Wednesday via phone from the hospital, where Kyle was undergoing his third surgery. "We already have a miracle he's alive. His helmet fell off after the first spin. It's lucky his head didn't get injured."

Kyle was LifeFlighted to the Twin Cities for an emergency surgery on Jan. 9 that took more than seven hours. Wednesday's surgery attempted to replace the nerve connection lost between the top of Kyle's shoulder and his hand by attaching a nerve from his leg.

"He keeps saying, 'Why can't I move my arm? I keep telling it to move and it won't,' " Amy said, adding that doctors tell her it will be three to six months before they will know whether the surgery was successful. Even if the surgery is successful, Kyle won't be able to lift his arm up and down.

"He's a big muscleman," said Megan Fisher, who was maid of honor in the couple's wedding last June, "Big hunter, fisherman, loves to ride bike. That's all over now."

The Stroms have two small children together, plus an older daughter from Amy's previous relationship. The children are staying with grandparents in Fargo while Amy and Kyle are in Minneapolis.

"It's hard," Amy said.

"Kyle is the most happy-go-lucky, supportive guy," Fisher said. "I remember when he first took her [Amy's daughter] fishing. And she dropped the fishing rod in the lake. I told her, 'You're going to be in big trouble.' But Kyle just laughed ... he's the sweetest guy ever."

Friends of the couple, led by Kyle's friend Paul Evans, have organized a two-day fundraiser Feb. 15 and 16 at Duffy's Tavern in Fargo to help the couple with expenses.

"I told him at least now I'll beat him at basketball," said Evans, laughing.

Amy said Kyle is in good spirits, and she checks him continually for signs of infection. Her father died several years ago from an infection following surgery on his toe.

She admits it doesn't seem quite fair.

"At least it taught me what to look for, what to be aware of," she said. "I guess there must be some master plan."