Woman beats the odds after surviving near-fatal car accident
Mandi Fier brought four beautiful children into the world. That statement might seem normal to many, but for a young woman told she might never walk again, it is a dream come true.
Mandi’s story began in the winter of 1998 when she and her fiancé were nearly killed in a devastating car accident. She suffered severe injuries, including breaking her right hip and shattering her pelvis in four places.
The first doctors that reviewed Mandi’s injuries in Indiana weren’t sure she would ever walk again. They were so concerned about her pelvic injuries that they were reluctant to even operate. Instead, she was sent by ambulance to Illinois and into the care of Dr. Matthew Jimenez, a board-certified surgeon who specializes in orthopaedic fracture care and joint reconstruction. Dr. Jimenez performed an eight-hour surgery at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge to repair and rebuild Mandi’s pelvis.
Following the surgery and a month in the hospital, Mandi moved back home to live with her mother. It took her a full year to recover, but not long after, Mandi and her fiancé got married. The couple felt very strongly about having children, but knew the pregnancy would be considered high-risk due to the reconstruction she had undergone.
“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,” explains Dr. Jimenez. “As a result, the woman may not be able to carry a fetus to term.”
Despite the risks, Mandi and her husband had two healthy babies, daughter Averi and son Preston. Mandi knew how lucky she was given what she’d been through. But as her children grew up, she watched as her sister Aimee and her husband struggled to have children of their own. And just as starting a family was important to Mandi, she knew how essential it was for Aimee. So Mandi did the unthinkable. She talked Aimee into having Mandi be her surrogate.
“I was so unsure about the idea,” says 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.”
It took years of convincing, but in 2014, Aimee and her husband welcomed twin baby boys into the world, with Mandi as their surrogate.
“I’m so grateful for Dr. Jimenez. I still get emotional when I see him, even after all these years. If not for him, I probably wouldn’t have ever walked again, much less have brought four beautiful children into this world,” says Mandi.
The courageous help of Dr. Jimenez and Mandi’s strength and selflessness has allowed her to live the life she so deserves.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.