Quadriplegic medical graduate makes history in Queensland

Erin Delaney
Team GradAustralia
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Dr Dinesh Palipana is making history as Queensland Health’s first quadriplegic intern.

Having joined 90 other interns at orientation at Gold Coast University Hospital recently, Dr Palipana is one of 700 graduates Queensland Health anticipates they’ll employ this year.

“I’ve worked really, really hard to make sure I’m skilled to the best of my ability… and whenever a patient walks into a room, it’s all about them,” Dr Palipana told the Bulletin. Dr Palipana was injured in a car accident midway through his studies in 2010.

“I’ve faced plenty of challenges along the way, but the initial shock of the accident really puts things in perspective. Waking up in the ICU and not being able to move is the hardest it has ever been and I always think nothing will ever be as bad as that.”

Professor Harry McConnell, clinical subdean of Griffith School of Medicine, said he had no doubt Dr Palipana’s patients would be well taken care of.

“Nobody who has ever had any dealings with Dinesh would doubt that he is going to be a spectacular intern, one of the best we’ll ever produce,” he said.

A spokeswoman from Gold Coast Health said: “As an organisation that embraces diversity, we are very happy to have been able to provide Dinesh the opportunity to further his career aspirations at our world-class tertiary facilities and we wish him all the best in his studies,” she said.