2017 Jan 6
Sometimes your life can change so much and so fast in a mere matter of seconds. In 2010, Dinesh Palipana was in a serious car accident in Brisbane which left him a quadriplegic.
When faced with such a life altering situation, we all have various ways of reacting to it. Some of us would feel our lives come crashing down all around us, rendering us helpless and possibly causing us to spiral. But Dinesh, was a brave person who decided to face his obstacles and fight for what he loved and believed in. As a result of his hard work and dedication, he is now only the second person in Australia with quadriplegia to graduate as a medical doctor and the first in the country to do so with a spinal cord injury.
In an article written by Dr Palipana, he said, “My car aquaplaned and began to roll while I was driving along Brisbane’s Gateway Motorway. When it landed I could not move. There was blood everywhere. The unthinkable had happened. Many things changed for me at that moment, except for one. I still had a desire to practice medicine.”
He is considered to be one of the best interns to graduate from the Griffith School of Medicine and is being pursued for a job at Harvard University. Additionally, he has been described as one of the most highly skilled students Griffith School of Medicine has graduated and has been provisionally registered by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority (AHPRA).
After spending seven months in a Brisbane spinal unit and three years in his native land, Sri Lanka, he returned to continue the third year of his studies in January 2015. This step in itself was a quite a leap of faith many would have been unwilling to take.
Since then, he has finished two years of clinical rotations at Gold Coast University Hospital, including three months in the emergency department. Moreover, he attained honours during a stint at Harvard University’s teaching hospital, which has expressed interest in employing him.
Griffith School of Medicine clinical subdean Professor Harry McConnell said he and his colleagues had no doubt Dr Palipana would make a “fantastic intern and an amazing doctor”. He mentioned that “there were many people in high positions who did not believe it was possible … but Dinesh has gone that extra step to silence anyone who might think he’s not capable of acting in a necessary manner.”
We had the pleasure of having a conversation with Dr Palipana via Skype and when asked what advice he’d give someone who needed the dire motivation he had, this is what he had to say:
“It’s not magic. If you have something that really moves your heart, which is what medicine is for me, you just have to work. If you really believe in something and if you want something, there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from getting it if you just work and you just go at it everyday. Believe that you can get there and just let it consume you, and you will arrive at that point.”
These are indeed words to live by.
Watch the full interview here;