Read the remarkable story of Dinesh Palipana in his own words.
I was involved in a motor vehicle accident in 2010. My car aquaplaned and rolled. The incident caused a spinal cord injury at C6/7. I was a third year medical student at the time.
I spent seven months at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, and several years putting life back together. However, my passion for medicine never waned.
In 2015, I returned to medical school. There had only been one student in Australia who graduated from medical school with similar circumstance before me. He was affected by Guillain-Barre syndrome. Therefore, it was new ground for my medical school at the Griffith University and the Gold Coast University Hospital.
With a lot of positive support and lateral thinking, I graduated medical school in 2016 with several awards. I also completed an advanced clerkship in radiology at the Harvard University, where I was the first visiting medical student with quadriplegia.
I then started work at the Gold Coast University Hospital, and just finished my first year as a doctor. I was fortunate to be the first medical intern in Queensland with quadriplegia, and the second medical graduate in Australia with it. I will be spending most of this year as a resident in the emergency department.
I have an obvious interest in spinal cord injury research. I am lucky to be in the Gold Coast at the moment. This is because Griffith University is undertaking some ground breaking work which will lead to a clinical trial for the spinal cord injured using olfactory ensheathing cells to repair spinal cord injury.
The clinical trial is expected to happen within the next couple of years. This work is supported by the Perry Cross Spinal Cord Research Foundation of which I am on the scientific advisory committee.
Additionally, we are doing some fascinating work at its early stages with non-invasive interventions to improve function in spinal cord injury. After looking around at the research globally, and what we are hoping to do, I am confident that we will change the nature of spinal cord injury in the near future.
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