Disability won’t stop Dinesh from becoming a Doctor

By Dinesh Palipana, 26 April 2016 , Comments

I started medical school after finishing a degree in law. That prompted a lot of people to ask me why I went on to study something completely different. The truth is I didn’t always want to be a doctor but a career in medicine really resonated with me after spending a couple of years reflecting on life during law school. 

I never have any regrets about this choice because I think it often takes us a bit of time to find a calling. I now know medicine is mine. 

The path to finishing medical school turned out to be not as straightforward as I had imagined.  At the start of my third year of study I was involved in a catastrophic car accident.

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.

I even remember talking to the doctor in the ambulance about this. By a stroke of coincidence, I knew him. He was once a lecturer of mine at university.

During every single day that followed, the want to return to medicine burned in my mind. It took a couple of years but the time finally came when I could take the leap and return to university. It was scary. There were so many unknowns.

Fortunately I had the support of an incredible mum, mentor, friends and university. Together, we made my return a success.

As you might imagine, going through university with a spinal cord injury can be challenging in many different ways. This is why I am extremely thankful to have received a Gregory and Dolores Farrell Scholarship from the Spine Care Foundation.

The scholarship makes a huge difference in helping me cover additional education costs associated with a spinal cord injury. It has also helped me attend Harvard Medical School as a visiting student in radiology.

During my time in Boston, I also visited spinal cord injury research labs. The scholarship will go a long way getting me through to the finish line of my studies.

I am now in my last year of study at Griffith University and I am excited about the future. I look forward to giving back to our community.


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