After suffering a “severe medical accident” in August, Cairns had surgery in Canberra, but the severity of his condition necessitated a transfer to St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney for another procedure. Following the operation, he was quickly removed off life support and was even able to “speak with his family from the Sydney hospital,” according to his lawyer Aaron Lloyd, who was there at the time. However, just a few days after the operation, he was left paralysed in his legs as a result of a stroke that occurred in his spine.
According to his video message, “One of the problems that occurred was a spinal stroke, which in and of itself will provide me with probably the biggest obstacle I’ve ever encountered in rehab moving ahead,” he added. “One of the complications that arose was an infection,” he said. ‘Thank you so much to the whole team here at Canberra Hospital, as well as the team at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney – to the surgeons, physicians, nurses, and specialists – you all helped save my life.’