On the last night of 2010, Dinesh Palipana was rushed to the hospital emergency room after his spinal cord was damaged in a car accident.
In 2018, you can still find Dinesh in the emergency room – only this time, he’s the doctor.
While his life-changing accident left him with quadriplegia, the Gold Coast University Hospital emergency department doctor never lost sight of his dream of a career in medicine.
“I remember being rushed in the ambulance, I couldn’t move my legs or fingers yet I still remember thinking ‘how am I going to finish med school now’?” he said.
After a long recovery process, Dinesh went on to become Queensland’s first medical graduate with quadriplegia, and later, the state’s first doctor with quadriplegia.
After initially finding it difficult to secure a placement because of his disability, Dinesh was delighted to be offered a position at one of the busiest emergency rooms in Australia.
“I love what I do, we have such a variety of challenges come through every day and the people I work with make it truly special,” he said.
“No one treats me differently because of my disability, I’m just one of the team and it’s never been an issue for a patient.”
Dinesh said the lecturer who first sparked his interest in emergency medicine ended up being the same doctor who treated him after his accident.
“He delivered a lecture on emergency medicine and I was intrigued, it sounded like it was right for me,” he said.
“I had no idea I would be seeing him again just weeks later, this time in the back of an ambulance while I was fighting for my life.”
Dinesh will be sharing his story and will discuss his passion for disability representation and inclusiveness in medicine as a guest speaker at Spinal Life Australia’s upcoming Assistive Technology Solutions Expo on 12 May.
“I’m looking forward to the Expo – in my position I get to see amazing advances in helpful technology in both my professional and home life every day,” he said.
Spinal Life Australia’s Allied Health Team has also previously assisted Dinesh with sourcing power wheels for his chair to help with manoeuvring around the hospital.
For more information on the Expo, visit www.spinal.com.au/expo2018.