Mandi Fier was 23 years old when she and her fiancé were in a near fatal car accident. First responders on the scene used the “Jaws of Life” to extricate Mandi from the wreckage. She suffered severe multiple injuries and most critically, she broke her right hip and shattered her pelvis in four places. Doctors at the local hospital in Indiana weren’t sure Mandi would ever walk again. They were so concerned about her pelvic injuries that they were reluctant to operate on her. Instead, they sent Mandi by ambulance to Illinois and into the care of Illinois Bone & Joint Institute’s Dr. Matthew Jimenez, a board-certified surgeon who specializes in orthopedic fracture care and joint reconstruction.
Over the course of an eight-hour surgery, Dr. Jimenez repaired and rebuilt Mandi’s crushed pelvis. Following the surgery and a month-long hospital stay, Mandi moved back into her mother’s home where she received 24-hour care. It took a full year for her to recover from her injuries.
Not long after that, she and her fiancé got married. They felt strongly about having children, but pregnancy in Mandi’s case was considered a high risk because of the pelvic reconstruction she had undergone. “An injury of this magnitude poses significant challenges for young women who want children,” explained Dr. Jimenez. “If the hip socket isn’t repaired perfectly, the patient may develop severe arthritis. And if the pelvis is not repaired correctly, the uterus won’t be able to expand as the baby grows. As a result, the woman may not be able to carry a fetus to term.”
Despite those challenges, Mandi and her husband went on to have two healthy babies – daughter Averi and son Preston. As Averi and Preston grew, Mandi watched as her sister Aimee and her husband struggled to have children of their own. Mandi knew how important family was to them, so she offered to act as a surrogate. “Can I do this for you?” Mandi asked her sister. Worried about Mandi’s old injuries, Aimee initially said no. “I was so unsure about the idea,” explained Aimee. “Mandi has her own family to take care of, her own kids. What if something happens to her while she’s carrying my baby? This was a really hard decision.”
Mandi finally talked Aimee into the idea. In 2014, Aimee and her husband welcomed twin baby boys into the world, with Mandi acting as surrogate. Mandi says it was Dr. Jimenez who deserves the credit for making her dreams – and those of her sister – come true. “Doctors at the first hospital were afraid to touch me because my injuries were so severe. But not Dr. Jimenez! He was brave enough to accept the challenge and he put me back together!”
Mandi still sees Dr. Jimenez periodically and the whole experience is still emotional for her. Every year, she travels from Peotone to Morton Grove for a follow-up visit. “My sister has to drive me to the appointment because I want to cry. I’m so grateful for Dr. Jimenez but I still get emotional when I see him even after all these years. If not for Dr. Jimenez, I probably wouldn’t have ever walked again, much less have brought four beautiful children into this world,” said Mandi. “When they sent me to Dr. Jimenez, they sent me to the best of the best!”