Prayer Defies the Odds of Recovery from Mangled Metal Wreck
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Matti Stevenson never saw it coming. The car that crossed 2 medians and hit her head on. Paramedics had to use the jaws of life to pry Matti from the mangled metal. They rushed her to the nearest hospital with life threatening injuries.
Her daughters, Brooks and Lindsey, rushed to their mother’s bedside. They were shocked by what they saw. “They didn’t even prepare me before I walked into the room," Brooks remembers while wiping away tears. I thought, “My mom is so broken, so broken, everything is broken.”
Her sister Lindsey was also overwhelmed when she saw her mother, “Broken bones all over her body, there were wires everywhere, a feeding tube, and breathing tubes.”
Neurosurgeon, Dr. Angela Downes was called in. She had the skills to handle such massive trauma. “It is very severe trauma, a high-speed roll over; she broke almost every part of body.” Forty-five bones, in fact, including her spine that needed immediate surgery. But first, they had to stop the internal bleeding and keep her alive. By morning, Matti had stabilized.
Before the surgery began, Dr. Downes told Matti’s daughter’s, “I was very surprised that she was not paralyzed, secondary to and due to the severity of the fractures. That was pretty miraculous, but the spinal bones, they were fractured and jumped over where they are supposed to be."
Lindsey said, “I had been told her spinal cord was within a millimeter of being completely severed.”
Although confident the procedure would be successful, Dr. Downes told Brooks and Lindsey, “It is possible for your mother to lose some range of motion and feeling in her body.”
Brooks remembers thinking, “This is scary because any kind of complication could arise.”
As Lindsey and Brooks prayed, they also started calling friends of their mom’s they knew would pray too. Before long, people around the world were calling out to God for Matti.
Hours later, Dr. Downes came out of surgery and reported, “She is doing very well. We had to realign the spine and and put instrumentation, screws, and rods, and bring everything back to where it should be.”
Lindsey recalls that Dr. Downes said something else. She said, “I have performed maybe 75 of these surgeries and your mom is the only one to make it out with no loss of feeling.”
Yet Matti’s recovery and future were far from certain. Dr. Downes told Matti, “It will be a long road to recovery. Extremely challenging, mentally and physically.”
When Matti woke up after surgery, she had no recollection of the accident, but her broken body and the searing pain told her something catastrophic had happened. Matti remembers, “The pain, the vertigo was very bad because of the severe whiplash in the accident. I remember screaming when they would turn me to my side.”
For the next several weeks Matti would endure more pain as doctors performed 8 more surgeries to repair the broken bones. Matti says, "It was almost as if God just carried me from surgery to surgery and gave me the hope of the next day. I realized the amount of prayer that was being lifted up. I’ll be forever grateful.”
Dr. Downes was impressed by Matti’s attitude and faith, “Matti always had a joyous attitude. She always had faith. She just radiated optimism and hope.”
After six weeks, Matti was finally released from the hospital. “God helped me to realize what he had carried me through. God had spared my life and allowed me to live.”
Matti would begin a long, painful process of recovery to get back on her feet and to a normal life. One day, she realized, there was something more she needed to do…. forgive the driver who’d hit her at over 100 miles per hour. "It was a conscious decision to forgive him. It didn’t matter what mistakes he made. He is forgiven and that is done with,” says Matti.
After several months of rehabilitation, Matti suffered a huge setback. Her surgeon said her right hand wasn’t healing and she needed another operation. Matti remembers the overwhelming emotion she felt. “I was shook to the core. Raised my fists to heaven and I said, 'Why did you not take me to heaven when you could? You could have taken me, why didn’t you take me?' I was just done with dealing with everything.”
Again, the prayer warriors went to God. Two days later, the hand surgeon reconsidered. He decided surgery wasn’t necessary and the hand might heal on its own. Matti says, “God healed it and I left smiling and crying that God would be so purposeful and so good.”
A year after the accident, Matti was back on her feet and fully recovered. Matti says, "I felt free, I felt healthy, it was wonderful!"
Dr. Downes was amazed. “It was a year later, she looked like nothing had happened. To recover from all those injuries and get back to normal life....this is all from above.”
Today, Matti lives a life filled with simple pleasures, and gratefulness to God. She says, “Prayer is powerful. Use it, embrace it, believe it, and share it with everyone you come across.”
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