Doctor ✓ Disability advocate✓ Medal of the Order (OAM) ✓ Lawyer ✓ to say he’s an ‘over-achiever’ is quite the understatement.
But Dinesh Palipana says his greatest achievement yet is helping and advocating for others – just as his Mum taught him.
In 2010, Dinesh Palipana OAM, suffered a major car accident, leaving him with a severe spinal injury.
He became Queensland’s first quadriplegic medical graduate, finishing his medical degree after the accident, and is now a senior resident at the Gold Coast emergency department.
Earlier this month he was admitted to the Supreme Court as a solicitor; determined to use his new career path to advocate further for those living with disability.
“My Mum has always said ‘by helping one person, you might not change the world. But you’ll change the world for them,” Dinesh says.
The doctor says his main legal areas of interest are disability, equality, inclusion and human rights.
“I think there’s more to a law degree than just “practising”. You have the power and platform to advocate for people and change lives on the daily.”
His next goal is to join the QLS Diverse Abilities Network and work closely with other lawyers advocating change and bringing awareness to the legal profession.
“I think this is a great initiative coming out of the society. It creates leadership and leadership drives change,” he says.
“As a legal profession, we need to put people on notice and lead by example for inclusion and acceptance. If we do that – anything is possible.”
After battling depression and anxiety while studying, Dinesh says he wants others living with a disability, to know the world is still their oyster.
“I understand that when you’re a prisoner in your own head, it can sometimes be worse than being physically limited. Life is organic and 10 years ago I was lying in ICU, and never thought I’d make it here.”
“I have a lot to be thankful for and I believe you should do things you have a passion for and if I’ve made a difference to someone’s life, then I think my life has been worthwhile.”