Dinesh Palipana refused to let a shocking car crash crush his dreams of becoming a doctor.
Dinesh Palipana refused to let a shocking car crash crush his dreams of becoming a doctor.

Pride of Australia nomination for quadriplegic doctor

HE IS the inspirational Gold Coaster who went to hospital as a quadriplegic and wheeled out as a doctor.

After a shocking car accident in 2010, Dinesh Palipana was left a quadriplegic, but refused to let that crush his dream of becoming a doctor.

After graduating from Griffith University with a string of academic excellence awards, he took on an internship at Gold Coast University Hospital in January and is relishing life as Dr Palipana.

It is a remarkable journey that led to his nomination for a 2017 Pride of Australia Medal.

Dr Palipana was part-way through a medical degree in 2010 when he was involved in a serious car crash that left him paralysed from the chest down.

However, refusing to be beaten, he eventually resumed his studies and graduated last year.

After initially fearing his handicap would prevent him from receiving job opportunities, he was offered a placement at Gold Coast University Hospital.

Dinesh Palipana with his mother Anne Palipana.
Dinesh Palipana with his mother Anne Palipana.

He has spent time in the high-pressure emergency department and even has a few admirers.

"I've had a few letters and emails from people," he said.

"Aspiring medical students have contacted me saying that my story shows them that it's possible for them to do what they want to do and hearing that sort of thing means a lot to me."

Dr Palipana said he had not encountered any negativity since he started work as a hospital doctor.

"Not a single patient has been negative or even looked at me funny," he said.

"Everyone has been really positive, which even surprises me a bit actually."

He eventually hopes to specialise in radiology.

"It's a pretty interesting area of medicine, so it would be good to specialise in that," he said.

"You can identify blood clots, for example, which could help save lives."


* Nominations for the 2017 Pride of Australia Medal close this weekend (Nov 19).

* Visit www.prideofaustralia.com.au to enter your nomination.