Quadriplegic doctor refuses to let car crash shatter his dream
When Dinesh Palipana began his studies at Griffith University he knew was in for a long journey. He had chosen one of the toughest subjects – medicine.
However, he never envisioned that his plans would be shattered when his car aquaplaned on Brisbane’s Gateway Bridge and crashed, leaving him a quadriplegic without feeling or movement from the chest down.
His graduation last year was a huge milestone, but the obstacles he had to overcome and his resilience is nothing short of remarkable.
“We all have challenges in life but if you really have a passion that consumes your soul you always find a way to do it,” Dr Palipana said.
“I knew I’d been paralysed before anyone even mentioned it to me. I just didn’t realise it was to the extent of becoming quadriplegic,” he said.
“Even in the ambulance, the first thing that occurred to me was, I still need to get this medicine degree done and get on with my career. That was so important to me.”
He spent seven gruelling months in the spinal unit at the PA Hospital with daily physio and occupational therapy.
Almost five years after the accident, he returned to his studies, buoyed by strong support from family and friends who encouraged him to keep his dream alive of becoming a doctor.
He kept in contact with the Griffith School of Medicine to see whether it was feasible for him to return to studies to become a doctor and he was met with warmth and support.
“Professor Harry McConnell and others from the School of Medicine were fantastic in communicating to me about how it could work if I came back to my studies.”
Earlier this year he was offered an intern placement at the Gold Coast University Hospital, making him the first quadriplegic medical intern in Queensland. In the future he plans to specialise in radiology.
“Luckily I have some fantastic people around me at Griffith, who have been great advocates of me, as well as my amazing mother who has always been there for me,” he said.