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Dinesh Palipana

Dinesh Palipana

Dinesh Palipana was in his third year of medical school when a car accident left him with a severe spinal cord injury.

“It was matter of seconds. I was 25, I was living by myself and I was independent. Then suddenly I was paralysed,” Dinesh recalls.

It was in that moment Dinesh knew his life had changed forever. But despite knowing what he was about to face, his determination to become a doctor never wavered.

After his accident, Dinesh returned to medical school and connected with Montrose for support with his studies.

“I had a friend through Montrose, well he became a friend eventually. We had some incredible times where he helped me get into the operating theatre for first time as a medical student. We had to figure out how to put on scrubs for the first time and how to clean the wheelchair. We had some incredible times,” Dinesh says.

Dinesh went on to become the first quadriplegic medical intern in Queensland, and the second person to graduate medical school with quadriplegia in Australia. He now works as a Doctor in the emergency department at the Gold Coast University Hospital.

Dinesh said none of this would have been possible without the people who stood with him when he wasn’t able to stand.

“The daily fight is not just for the person with disability. It is for their caregivers, their families, their parents. They have to fight for everything, for their education, their employment to accessing the community, their funding and even for their wheelchairs.

“There is so much fight but the more we fight, the more things change for other people,” says Dinesh.

As a result of his lived experience, Dinesh is a powerful advocate for inclusion.

“When I first came back to medical school, there was a doctor who said I don’t know if the patients will take you seriously.  I have now seen thousands of patients and not one patient has ever said, Are you sure you can do your job?,” recalls Dinesh.

Dinesh said the significant barriers to his employment continued to be these attitudinal barriers from the people in power.

“That’s where the challenges have come from. That’s where the objections have come from. It’s never been the community, it’s never been the patients. I hope everything I have fought for in education and employment positively effects others with a disability,” he says.

Dinesh says organisations like Montrose have played an important role in changing the lives of people with a disability. He says the advocacy work of individuals and organisations alike is critical to securing an inclusive future for people with a disability.

“We have some pretty good public and government support structures but also that’s shaped by organisations like Montrose, who have a powerful voice to drive change. They have shaped the community and have the opportunity create even more change,” says Dinesh.

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Montrose is becoming part of Northcott!

Our purpose has always been to provide people with disabilities with the best services possible. This will help us achieve that goal.

In the near future, when you visit Montrose.org.au, you'll be directed to our new website at Northcott.com.au.

You're bound to notice some changes… to our offices, our phone number, and even our uniforms and the way we work with you to achieve your goals.

Your therapist and services, our locations and the cost of your services will NOT change.