Patient Shares What Got Him Through the Tough Times

May 21, 2024

Matthew Lex, 20, was near the end of his shift as a sanitation worker when he was struck and pinned between the vehicle that hit him and the sanitation truck from which he was working. Paramedics arrived and he recalls they asked him multiple questions to keep him alert. The next thing he remembers, he was being put to sleep for surgery. When he awoke, one of his legs was amputated and the other was partially amputated.

Remarkably, his thoughts that day were, “I have what I need to still live,” Lex says.

Rehabilitation and prostheses

Matthew Lex and Logan LeeTwo months later, Lex was ready to transition from the hospital to the Hitchcock Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit at Aiken Regional Medical Centers. He was impressed that the team was equipped to work with a young double amputee. But he still had a long journey ahead of him before he would be ready for his prostheses.

“The initial goal at the beginning of his rehabilitative therapy was to teach him how to do the things he would need to be able to do to get home,” says lead physical therapist Logan Lee, PT, DPT, CCCE.

This meant teaching Lex, along with his family members, how to get him from a bed to a wheelchair, move in the wheelchair, take care of his wounds, get dressed, bathe and an array of common, day-to-day tasks. Once Lex accomplished these skills, he was fitted for his prostheses and returned to Aiken Regional for another round of rehab.

“The most important piece of adaptive equipment he uses regularly is his wheelchair and military-grade prostheses,” says Lee.

Next, his rehabilitation team focused on mobility – walking, balancing, standing up and sitting down – and fundamentals like getting around efficiently and independently. Lee's goal for Lex was to help him successfully carry out the daily activities he would need and want to do, including the ability to get out, be active and function at the highest level possible.

“Aiken Regional has a great team of physical therapists, who became a support system to me,” says Lex, “and Logan became one of my biggest motivators.”

Lex also had his family members by his side through his entire health journey. “If you or someone you love is going through a similar situation,” Lee notes, “it is important to advocate for your loved one and work together with the healthcare team.”

A promising future

Lex adds he’s very thankful for his physically fit body and his fortitude.

“I have always focused on having a strong mindset to allow me to prepare for what may happen in certain situations,” he says.

Even after the accident, surgeries, infections and all the adversity he has faced, Lex says he has ambitious plans for his life.

“I’ve thought about getting involved in something regarding the Paralympics or the military,” he says. “What got me through the tough times was my fight and my will to live. My advice to others is to never limit yourself and if you have enough faith, you can overcome anything.”