A puddle of water on a highway changed medical student Dinesh Palipana’s life forever. After his accident, his strength and determination saw him return to complete medical school – now with quadriplegia. This deeply personal, inspiring and at times heartbreaking talk details how the most significant barriers to Dinesh’s medical career were the attitudes of some in the medical profession, rather than any physical challenges. It is a stark reminder that there is still much work to be done to support underrepresented people in the workplace, and ensure ability, not attitudes, determine career opportunities and success. Dinesh was the first quadriplegic medical intern in Queensland, and the second person with quadriplegia to graduate medical school in Australia.
Halfway through medical school, Dinesh was involved in a catastrophic motor vehicle accident that caused a cervical spinal cord injury. He still went on to complete his Doctor of Medicine (MD) and an Advanced Clerkship in Radiology at the Harvard University.
Dinesh is currently a senior resident medical officer at the Gold Coast University Hospital, a lecturer at Griffith University and an adjunct research fellow at the Menzies Health Institute of Queensland.