Bashing victim: ‘Why did I survive when others don’t?’
STILL recovering from a violent incident that left him with a metal plate in the side of his skull, Matthew Donovan is already looking for an answer to the violence on Gold Coast streets.
The university student and former Labor candidate was rushed to hospital on November 1 after he was found semiconscious outside a Surfers Paradise toilet block in Ferny Ave.
With bleeding on the brain and a fractured skull, he had to be placed in an induced coma.
But despite his injuries, the 34-year-old now counts himself as lucky.
Mr Donovan said he recalled waking up from his 32-hour coma in a daze.
Doctors inserted a titanium plate in the right side of his face to mend his shattered eye socket.
He was released from hospital after a week, on his birthday.
A 26-year-old man was charged with causing grievous bodily harm.
"Waking up was a shock. You don't know what your recovery is going to be at that point," Mr Donovan said.
"You are told you have been in a very serious accident and you were in ICU.
"The next couple of days were just a matter of figuring out how much of the impact on you was the drugs you were on and how much was an ongoing injury.
"Over the next coming days I realised I was going to get away with this."
Mr Donovan, who described his condition now at "near 100 per cent'', said he felt a pang of guilt about his survival and ease of recovery, given the severity of that attack, which was caught on CCTV.
"The biggest thing for me is going to be the question of luck. Why did I survive when others don't?" he said.
Having returned to lectures at Griffith University where he is studying for a degree in business and public policy, he said he hoped to use the attack to advocate for good.
"My concern is it is an epidemic on the Gold Coast. In any other situation I could have been killed," Mr Donovan said.
"It is my responsibility now to speak up for those that don't survive these attacks.
"As someone who is passionate about public policy, I plan to see what can we do in terms of reform."
Despite his praise for the work of the police and the Government, Mr Donovan said more preventive steps could be taken.
"It is not good enough and we need to stop these young men destroying their lives and destroying other lives and families,'' he said.
"I have a voice, I have some connections when it comes to the government and I am going to use that to try to see if we can't fix this epidemic, speaking up for those that haven't made it."
Mr Donovan contested the seat of Surfers Paradise in the 2012 state election.