MILWAUKEE - Jeff Rothmeier, the Milwaukee firefighter who was badly injured when he fell two stories from the roof while battling a fire at an apartment complex near 80th and Oklahoma Saturday, March 18, was able to be in Minnesota with his sick daughter, Fiona, on Monday, March 20.
Fiona is dealing with kidney failure, and the family has been trekking monthly to the Mayo Clinic. In February, the family decided to remove the kidney, opting to go forward with that plan despite what happened to Jeff because Fiona is in constant pain.
Family said Jeff was determined to be there for Fiona's surgery on Monday, but that seemed unlikely given his injuries. Family said Jeff suffered a concussion, memory loss, a bruised lung, a spinal fracture and 10 broken ribs when he fell from the roof Saturday night at 80th and Oklahoma.
"He was just determined to get there," said Jamie Fink, Fiona's aunt and Jeff's sister-in-law. "He was going to check out of the hospital and figure out a way to get there."
"We’re like, ‘No. You’re not going anywhere, dude,’" said AJ Fink, Fiona's uncle and Jeff's brother-in-law.
"He would have hobbled out of there," said Jamie Fink.
Initially, it meant Jeff and his 10-year-old daughter would be in separate hospitals in separate states.
The family said what happened next was a miracle.
Jeff Rothmeier and Fiona (COURTESY: GoFundMe.com)
In an update Monday, the family said Milwaukee Fire Chief Aaron Lipski visited Jeff at the hospital "and upon hearing the situation at hand, ordered an ambulance to transport Jeff to Mayo as soon as he was able to safely leave."
"We were in absolute shock," said AJ Fink. "We kind of did like, a double take on the phone when we heard it. Like, is this even real? Does this type of thing even happen?"
Jeff arrived in Minnesota Monday, and father and daughter were together as Fiona was wheeled back for the three-hour surgery.
"The fact that her daddy was there, I’m sure calmed some nerves because this was a big surgery, and it was a long time leading up to this decision," said Jamie Fink.
"And she was really scared, really scared," said AJ Fink.
Now, father and daughter are back together as they both recover.
"The fact that they are together is truly a miracle," said Jamie Fink. "It seemed impossible, but then it happened."
The Finks said the two being together will speed up their healing and bring them back home.
"Honestly, God is good," said Jamie Fink. "When you think that something is impossible, you will be reminded that it’s not impossible."