A serious car crash in her final year of medical school led to James Cook University graduate Dr Marishka Shah being enveloped in the care of her adopted community in Mackay.
The head-on collision, on a trip to Airlie Beach on Easter Friday 2021, left Marishka unconscious and then semi-conscious. She awoke in Mackay Base Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit several hours later with shattered bones in her lower left leg, a lacerated liver and a traumatic brain injury. The COVID-19 international travel ban blocked her Canadian family’s desperate attempts to come to Australia to be by her side.
“I was in hospital for a little bit, I was unconscious for a long time, but throughout all of it, I got so much love and support from the Mackay Clinical School and the hospital,” says Marishka, who graduated with a JCU Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery in December alongside her partner, Dr Nickolas Robinson.
“To this day, I'm still moving through the departments on my way to recovery, but it's given me that drive to give back to the community that’s helped me. I had to remediate my studies, but everything worked out in the end. I got so much support from my supervisors, the academic coordinators, the clinical staff – everyone came together and helped me as a team to get it done and get back to recovery as soon as possible.
"I was on crutches for eight weeks and everyone was so kind and caring at the clinic and JCU. I guess I can relate to my patients. I passed through several departments and played patient to all my supervisors, which makes for a very interesting experience as I now work with them.”