Relatives make bedside vigil

Matt Golinski.
Matt Golinski. Geoff Potter

THE father of celebrity chef Matt Golinski regularly takes a long train trip to be by his son's side in Brisbane, wanting to 'be there' for his son as he slowly emerges from an induced coma.

Matt's sister visits daily in support of her brother's recovery.

The family of Matt's late wife, Rachael, 38, are also regular visitors to the intensive care unit of Royal Brisbane Hospital.

Both families remain in a state of limbo.

They wait to see how Matt will recover - and when it will be possible to make the arrangements to bid a final farewell for Rachael and the couple's daughters Sage and Willow, aged 12, and Starlia, 10, all of whom died in a Boxing Day tragedy near Noosa.

Matt's dad Keith Golinski and sister Kathy have been encouraged by signs of progress with Matt experiencing brief periods of semi-consciousness despite remaining in a critical but stable condition.

But the family knows there are many, many baby steps ahead with the popular Coast TV chef expected to remain in hospital for up to a further six months.

Due to his heavily sedated state, Matt is not yet able to walk or talk on his own but despite burns to his back, arms and scalp, the family is confident he will recover and work again.

As is often 'standard procedure' when it comes to high level burns patients, Matt has been kept in an induced coma to manage the pain as well as aid the healing of third degree burns to 40% of his body.

But he is being slowly eased off medication to test the independence of his breathing and other body functions.

Keith Golinski continues to see signs of the strength of his son's body and spirit as his body starts the journey to recovery.

Family and friends have been equally moved by the strength of a dad and sister coping with a family member affected by horrific burns - and the loss of a daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, grandchildren and nieces.

"He (Keith) is trying to stay really strong for Matt," a family spokeswoman said.

"Given the level of loss the families concerned are experiencing, their strength and dignity has been amazing," she said of Matt and Rachael's families.

Due to Matt's efforts on that terrible night to save his family from the inferno, it is hoped that when he awakes, he may be aware his family has perished. That would spare the family the heartbreaking task of breaking the news that no parent or other family member would wish to share.

But it will not be until he fully emerges out of the coma that it will be clear whether this husband and father remembers what happened.

In the meantime, the Golinskis can't say enough about the care of the hospital team who have worked through more than 10 surgeries to assist Matt's recovery.

"Their skill, combined with Matt's strength of will is what is keeping us going at present," Mr (Keith) Golinski said.

The family has been buoyed by the incredible outpouring of support not only on the Sunshine Coast but also across Australia.

"As time goes on we continue to learn how Rachael, Matt and the girls were loved by their local community, and particularly what Rachael, Matt and also Starlia had achieved in relation to helping the twins' to be treated as equal members of society, despite their disability," Keith said.

Later next month, celebrity chefs will join forces for a 'love of food and love of friends' national fundraiser which will build upon the efforts already held here on the Coast.

Mr (Keith) Golinski again thanked the community for the well wishes that continue to be directed towards both families.

"We thank each and every person for their love and support," he said.

"I believe it continues to help Matt, but also helps to buoy the spirits of family and friends."

Keith said funeral arrangements for Rachael and the children would be made in consultation with his son and other family members.

Details would be released at a later date.

Donations for the Matt (Matthew) Golinksi recovery fund can be made over the counter at any ANZ Bank or by direct deposit to:

Account name: Matthew Golinski Recovery Fund Trust

Bank: ANZ

BSB: 014 672

Account number: 263 331 805.

Gympie Times

Topics:  intensive care, matt golinski, royal brisbane hospital




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