John Hitchens and his wife Jess, before the accident.
John Hitchens and his wife Jess, before the accident.

Paralysed man’s plea for sons to visit hospital

A young father, paralysed in a freak dirt bike accident three weeks ago, is begging for COVID laws to be relaxed so he can see his two young sons.

John Hitchens, 33, was paralysed when his dirt bike hit a tree branch on a bush track he was riding on at Kenilworth on August 28.

Moments before the ill-fated bike ride, John Hitchens at Kenilworth, where his family was camping.
Moments before the ill-fated bike ride, John Hitchens at Kenilworth, where his family was camping.


Last week, he was granted his sickbed wish - to be able to have his young wife by his side.

But now the father of two is desperate to also see his two young sons, aged five and eight.

Mr Hitchens was rushed to hospital in Brisbane after the fall, where he underwent hours of lifesaving surgery which he had to endure alone due to tough COVID laws banning visitors to hospitals.

After a community campaign to Chief Health Minister Jeannette Young, Mr Hitchens' wife, Jess was given a reprieve last week and has been allowed to see him for two hours a day.

John Hitchens who is in hospital after a dirt bike ride left him partly paralysed.
John Hitchens who is in hospital after a dirt bike ride left him partly paralysed.


But the young Logan plumber, who has been told he has a 99 per cent change of never walking again, has not been able to see his two young sons, Max, 8, and Jonah, 5.

Speaking from his bed in the spinal unit at Princess Alexandra Hospital, the young dad held back tears as he told of his love for his family.

"I miss my babies so much, when I finally get to see them again they'll look bigger because its been so long," he said.

"When I spoke to the boys and told them that my arms and legs don't work Max said 'It's okay daddy, we'll be okay, I love you'."

Mrs Hitchens, who also cares for her deaf parents at their Chambers Flat home, said the family was struggling to come to terms with the long road ahead and was daunted with the prospect of having to buy a $98,000 modified car.

She said her sons were still adjusting to the news their dad was unlikely to ever walk again.

"They have taken it all in but they now face the foreseeable future without their dad around," she said.

"He only has slight head, shoulders, and some bicep movement, but having broken his C3, C5, and shattering his C4, the surgeons believe there is a 99 per cent chance he won't walk again.

"He's expected to be in hospital for up to 18 months for rehabilitation and that will be without his family physically by his side.

"The NDIS scheme will thankfully provide essential services, such as house modifications, but it does not provide a modified car which can take a wheelchair.

"The sooner we can achieve this, the sooner John can come home."

Mr Hitchens' former boss, Goanna Plumbing, started a GofundeMe Page and already more than $11,000 has been raised in the bid to get the car.

Originally published as Paralysed man's plea for sons to visit hospital


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