Matt Jester

“Positivity has given me everything. Negativity has given me nothing.” Matt Jester

If you knew Matt Jester before 2016, you would recognize him as a business owner, a husband and father skilled in martial arts, and a man who could bench press an impressive amount! That description disappeared when Matt’s pancreas split, spilling poison into his system and leaving him in critical condition.

During his eight months at Legacy Hospital, Matt suffered two strokes, flat-lining twice. Recovery was not a certainty. He was unable to stand and had to relearn breathing, eating, and drinking. He moved to Legacy Emanuel Hospital for an additional three months, still on a trach.

One day a physician told Matt’s wife that he may not survive. She challenged that, saying he would. At that time Matt understood enough to nod in agreement – he would indeed live!

Vibra Specialty Hospital of Portland was the next stop on this long journey. The care at Vibra enabled him to speak using a Passy Muir valve. With improved communication, Matt was able to talk with the nurses who helped him work through his lack of memories. What music did he like? How did he like to spend his time? After making improvements at Vibra, Matt spent two weeks in rehab. After a combined year and three months of hospital care, he was able to go home.

As Matt continued to gain strength he decided it was time to get back to work. His first job was working at Vibra in the housekeeping department. This was a way to be in the hospital and test his ability to work every day, physically and mentally; all areas challenged by his illness. When the patient advocate position was posted, the fit was obvious. Nurses and administrators who were acquainted with Matt encouraged him to apply. His experience as a patient is unique, yet not dissimilar to many who come to Vibra to heal. He is passionate about his work and willing to share his story if it encourages patients and their families.

“There was no doubt in my mind, once I met Matt and listened to him regarding his journey, that he would be the one to help others along in their journey to health,” shared Chris Jones, CEO of Vibra Specialty Hospital of Portland.