Giving patients a voice
Every day is different for Matthew Eiban. As a Vidant Health clinical specialist for speech pathology services, Eiban treats everyone, from premature infants with feeding difficulty to adults with communication disorders. He may work in a rural setting, but Eiban still encounters a wide range of patient needs—issues with swallowing, speaking, and comprehension to name a few.
Like mother, like son
Eiban grew up the son of a speech pathologist, never expecting that he would follow in his mother’s footsteps. He just knew that he wanted to help people. After considering social work and audiology, Eiban settled on speech pathology, where he’s able to use all aspects of his training every day to treat his patients. He works with outpatient children in the morning and sees adult patients in the afternoon. Treating patients on a personal level, meeting them where they are to address the root of their problem, and seeing them begin to make progress—that’s what he considers to be the best part of his work. Eiban recounts the story of a patient who, after having a brain tumor removed, was unable to remember anything, had a very difficult time communicating, and needed a lot of support. That patient is now independent. “It makes me feel awesome,” he says. “I tell them, ‘You did it! I just helped!’”
“This is a very good team.”
Eiban credits teamwork across disciplines for improving the quality of therapy and helping make treatment effective and efficient. “The therapy department really is a team. Even beyond that, each discipline is not an island,” he says. “Everyone is very accessible.” That teamwork has a profound effect. “We can’t change the past, but we can change the future,” he says, “so let’s work together to make these patients as independent as possible.”