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Surgeon performs limb-saving surgeries to save his mentor's leg

'Dr. Jimenez has always been in many ways a mentor and almost like a big brother,' Dr. Julio Ortiz says
Hospital hallway
Posted at 4:55 PM, Apr 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-01 19:30:35-04

BOYNTON BEACH, FLA. — A mixture of strength and determination is driving Dr. Jesus Jimenez on his road to recovery.

The long two-year journey is still not over after a serious car crash in South Carolina shattered much of his lower left leg.

Jimenez is a vascular surgeon at Bethesda Hospital in Boynton Beach.

As a vascular surgeon, Jimenez often treats patients with diabetes or peripheral vascular disease or other conditions that have the potential of leading to foot or leg amputations. 

However, in September 2020, Jimenez was told he may have to face an amputation himself.

“I save lives and help people keep their legs,” he said. “So, to find myself in this role reversal of being in a trauma hospital and me being the patient was quite intense.”

After the first emergency surgery in Charleston, Jimenez made a phone call to longtime colleague and friend Dr. Julio Ortiz. Ortiz is director of the foot and ankle surgery residency at Bethesda Hospital.

“Dr. Jimenez has always been in many ways a mentor and almost like a big brother,” said Ortiz.

Ortiz has been taking on the critical task of performing a series of limb-saving surgeries on Jimenez. 

“Studies show that within a five-year period of someone losing their limb, because of the excess workload on their heart, there's a high risk of mortality,” said Ortiz. “If we can save the limb, we can often save their life.”

Jimenez remains optimistic, despite the long recovery that still lies ahead.

“Eight operations, and it looks like I’m going to need two more, which will be done at the Bethesda,” said Jimenez.

The next surgery for Jimenez will most likely be a total ankle joint replacement in which a damaged section of ankle joint is replaced with a joint replacement implant.