December 3, 2018

Discussing Disability: Interview with Dr Harry Eeman

Dr Harry Eeman, Rehabilitation Medicine Physician at Northern Health, was a young medical student when he was struck down by a severe form of Guillain-Barré syndrome whilst backpacking in Europe.

Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare but serious autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks healthy nerve cells in your peripheral nervous system. This leads to weakness, numbness, and tingling, and can eventually cause paralysis.

Harry spent the next two and a half years in hospital, five months of which were spent on a ventilator paralysed in what seemed like a coma-like state, except for the fact that he could hear those around him.

After years of rehabilitation, he recommenced his studies and completed medicine as a quadriplegic, which required overcoming a number of physical and attitudinal barriers.

He eventually graduated with honours and subsequently completed two postgraduate specialist qualifications.

As today is International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD), we interviewed Dr Harry Eeman on the subject of disability and the challenges he has faced.