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Durakai and Brinae

Brinae is from the Kurnai tribe in southeast Gippsland and now live in Geurie with her three children including son Durakai and husband Glen.

The Durakai family

When Durakai was six, he was involved in a motorbike accident and had multiple injuries. He was put into a coma at the scene and had suspected spinal injuries, including broken limbs and a traumatic brain injury. He was taken to the Children’s Hospital at Westmead where he was put into a coma for seven days. He had to wear a neck brace to stabilize his spine.

He spent three weeks in hospital then four months staying at Ronald McDonald House so he could attend rehabilitation every day at the hospital.

Durakai had to learn how to eat, walk, smile, swallow; everything required to get back on the road to recovery.

What worked well for Durakai’s family in rehab

  • Including us in every step of Durakai’s journey.
  • Valuing our input into Durakai’s recovery was paramount.
  • Having the Aboriginal health worker involved with our family at appointments and meetings, to help with translating information to the wider family and connecting and interacting with other staff.
  • The team’s flexibility in understanding and fitting in with our family’s needs.
  • Everyone knew who we were and bent over backwards to support us.

Tips for other Aboriginal families

  • If you have questions, make sure you bring it up and speak to the right people.
  • Don’t ever feel ashamed or that you are alone and reach out, have faith in yourself.
  • Have trust in the clinicians in what they can do.

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