Posted on 29 Aug 2018
A Melbourne man who was ploughed through during last December’s horrific Flinders Street car attack has only just been able to return home – more than seven months after the traumatic accident.
Tong “Tony” Li was one of 18 people injured (one man was killed) in the incident on December 21, 2017 when a man intentionally drove a car into crowds of people on Flinders Street, near the busy corner of Elizabeth Street in Melbourne’s CBD.
Slater and Gordon is currently working with Mr Li to help him receive the necessary support he needs to rebuild his life after the traumatic incident.
Chinese-born Mr Li – who is now a permanent Australian resident – suffered a list of injuries including multiple skull fractures, bleeding and blood clots in his brain, facial nerve damage, scarring, short-term memory loss, fractured ribs, soft tissue injuries to his elbow and leg and severe psychological trauma.
In fact, much of the left side of his body was affected, with damage to his left eye and hearing in his left ear. As soon as paramedics arrived on the scene, the 24-year-old student was rushed to the Royal Melbourne Hospital where he was placed in Intensive Care with life threatening injuries.
“I still cannot forget that day and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget it, it has changed my life forever,” Mr Li said. “I was walking towards Flinders Street station and there was a sudden, huge noise and I lost consciousness.
“When I woke up I was in intensive care, it felt like a bomb was exploding in my brain. At times, the pain was completely unbearable.
“My memory was affected and at one point all I could remember was my father’s mobile number and my address.
“It has been very difficult for me as I do not have any family in Australia and have had to rely on close friends for support.”
Three weeks after the accident, Mr Li was transferred to Richmond’s Epworth Hospital. By this time his parents had travelled from China to see him, which he said was also quite confronting, particularly experiencing their reactions to the severity of his injuries.
In February, Mr Li was transferred to the hospital’s Transitional Living Centre (TLC) in Thornbury where he continued to experience anxiety, insomnia and severe pain.
During his treatment, doctors had found a benign tumour on his pituitary gland (inside his brain), which was successfully removed during a complicated surgery at Melbourne Private Hospital in April. He returned to the TLC shortly after and remained there until late July.
Mr Li is currently undergoing extensive treatment to treat his ongoing physical and psychological injuries he has sustained as a result of the traumatic incident. This includes physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and psychological treatment.
Sadly, on the day of the accident Mr Li had just received his Advanced Diploma of Translating. He is now concerned about whether he will be able to use this qualification given the various physical and psychological injuries sustained in the accident.
Senior Slater and Gordon Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer Marko Eric said Mr Li was entitled to support through the Transport Accident Commission.
“Many of us can remember the horror of seeing the incident on the news that day,” Mr Eric said. “Tong has been through hell and back and it’s still not over for him as far as his recovery is concerned.
We will work to help him get all of the support he needs so that he can get his life back on track."