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Stories of hope

Jose Matos: A God miracle, a new heart, a warrior

Jose Matos surrounded by family and friends, all sitting on stairs

Giving thanks to my husband’s young donor and family is an understatement. We hope that they can find healing and comfort knowing that their loved one gave the gift of a second chance to live another day not only to a husband, but to a daddy, pa, Lolo, grandpa, brother, uncle and friend. Our family and friends will forever be grateful.

On September 21, 2022, after taking a shower my husband started having chest pain. I took him immediately to the hospital ER where his cardiologist resides. He was immediately admitted having cardiogenic shock. Next day, he was taken to the OR for an emergency surgery where he had a small Impella device insertion to provide support to the left ventricle and get him stabilized. That night he was CareFlite to another hospital where he underwent a 2nd surgery replacing the Impella device with a bigger machine. The surgeon indicated that his heart was only functioning 5%. After a few days in ICU and recovery, he was transferred via ambulance to a specialized hospital where doctors recommended him for LVAD (Left Ventricular Assist Device) and/or heart transplant.

The transplant selection committee reviewed and deemed Jose to be a good candidate, and on September 27th his journey to the LVAD implant began. After numerous Labs, Xrays, Echos, and other tests, on October 12th he underwent his third surgery. The surgery was successful, and he was brought up to ICU in stable condition.

The next day, things started to take a wrong turn when his right ventricle started failing needing immediate intervention, his fourth surgery, requiring an RVAD device via ProtekDuo. Unfortunately, his condition didn’t improve as the transplant and heart failure team expected. A special meeting was held by the transplant selection committee and a decision was made to proceed with heart transplant. On October 18th, his listing was accepted as status ‘2’ but an exception letter was sent, upgrading his status to ‘1’. Next day I got the news from the surgeons that we had a donor, and the offer was accepted. Tears and joy filled our hearts.

On October 21th, Jose underwent his fifth surgery, in the hands of one of the best surgical team we have ever seen or experienced. His heart transplant was a success!

Even though it was a hard and long recovery process, with intense physical and speech therapy, Jose never gave up, kept his faith in God, a positive strong attitude and was always willing to do whatever he was asked to do by every ICU staff that was taking care of him. In their words a “Warrior”. He was moved to PCU on November 8th and on November 18th, he was discharged and ready to come home. Again, with a heart full of joy and tears at the same time as we said goodbye to all the people that became part of a very special “FAMILY” to us. He has made a remarkable recovery.

A new heart from a selfless stranger, a mountain of prayers, every loved one involvement, our faith and trust in GOD made this miracle possible.

Hand-drawn heart
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