Bendigo Man lives with lifelong effects of road trauma

October 10, 2016

Bendigo man lives with lifelong effects of road trauma

It took just a moment during an ordinary commute home from work one afternoon to take Peter Brown’s life down a completely unexpected and unwelcome path.

The Eaglehawk resident was on his motorcycle, riding back from his job at a flour mill at Bridgewater four years ago, when a car pulled out into the oncoming traffic and struck him.

His right leg bore the brunt of the impact, breaking in several places, and most of his top teeth were knocked out.

Mr Brown underwent multiple operations and spent a lot of time in hospital as doctors tried to encourage his shattered bones to knit back together.

But there were numerous problems, including a serious infection that put him in hospital for several weeks which was believed to have been picked up when the bone had broken through the skin of his foot.

These setbacks led to Mr Brown having the leg amputated more than two years after the crash – the 21st operation he had endured in the wake of the incident.

The 58-year-old has been unable to work since the day of the crash and it is believed he will not work again, something he says is “pretty hard to take”.

Mr Brown said the crash, and the ensuing medical issues, had had a significant impact not only on him, but on his wife Wendy and his kids as well.

His wife and youngest son, who was living at home at the time, had to take on more of the duties around the home, and the family has also had to deal with the emotional burden of concern for their husband and father.

“I’ll wear this for the rest of my life, my family wears this for the rest of their lives,” he said.

While Mr Brown never found out what the driver responsible for the crash was doing at the time, he said she was not paying enough attention to the road.

“Your job while you’re driving, your contract of having a licence, is that you will watch out for other people,” he said.

Mr Brown hopes young drivers, and even kids who are not able to get their licences yet, will sit up and pay attention to his story, an example of the profound impact a moment of carelessness on the roads can have.

“It is confronting to see the sorts of things I’ve had to endure, it is confronting and it should be confronting,” he said.

Mr Brown still rides his motorbike and has been volunteering at the rehabilitation wards of Bendigo Health and St John of God hospital, helping other people through trying times.

But he is still angry about what has happened to him.

“Like one little kid said, ‘Oh, will it grow back?’ It ain’t going to grow back, it’s never going to be the same again. My life is forever different.”