RizeUp, fight vi­o­lence says mir­a­cle mum

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS - CHRIS HONNERY

SI­MONE O’Brien isn’t sup­posed to be alive right now.

The 46-year-old was on the brink of death the night of Septem­ber 25, 2012, af­ter her for­mer part­ner smashed her skull in with a base­ball bat.

Doc­tors at the Royal Bris­bane and Women’s Hos­pi­tal de­scribed it as the worst head trauma they have ever seen and had to re­assem­ble the en­tire right side of her face, as well as re­store her vi­sion, smell and abil­ity to eat.

Now, the mother-of-three is speak­ing out about do­mes­tic vi­o­lence through sup­port or­gan­i­sa­tion RizeUp.

Her road to re­cov­ery has been long and ar­du­ous af­ter sus­tain­ing in­juries so se­vere she was left blind, un­able to smell and could not open her jaw more than two mil­lime­tres.

“(Emer­gency crews) didn’t think I was go­ing to sur­vive,” she said.

“I’ve since met the am­bu­lance (crew) that saved my life at the scene and they said it was lucky I got so many base­ball bats to the right side of the face that it shat­tered my skull … to give way for the brain swelling, which is why I haven’t ended up with any long or short-term mem­ory loss. It’s hard to be­lieve I’m here talk­ing about my­self like this.”

The lead sur­geon at the time who op­er­ated on Ms O’Brien was Dr An­thony Lyn­ham, now a La­bor MP in the State Gov­ern­ment.

He said it was im­pos­si­ble to for­get the ex­tent of Si­mone’s in­juries.

“You al­ways re­mem­ber peo­ple like Si­mone who had the worst of i njuries in the most beau­ti­ful of peo­ple,” he said. “She’s done won­der­fully well. She is just such a beau­ti­ful woman.” Ms O’Brien has spent the past few weeks speak­ing out about do­mes­tic vi­o­lence with RizeUp, which last week an­nounced the com­ple­tion of its 500th home for women and fam­i­lies seek­ing to leave an abu­sive re­la­tion­ship.

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