Beyond the bullet: survivor talks about life after being shot at and disabled

Until March 6 years ago, Matthew Dingli worked and lived in Libya, and had a successful business – a wood factory with his partner. He was brought to Malta urgently by the Maltese authorities by ambulance because some gunmen shot him in the head and he was in danger of losing his life.

Matthew, who is now 38 years old, is still suffering the consequences of what happened to him in Libya, because he still has a bullet that cannot be removed, otherwise he will die. The man has a severe disability, as he said in an interview with TVM.

I had gone up for work, the war broke out, I was called to go back home and I didn’t go back. They robbed me, shot me in the head, I couldn’t taste anything, I didn’t feel anything, I didn’t even need anaesthetic because I didn’t feel anything.”

For several years, Matthew lived in the St. Vincent de Paule nursing home, but today he is living in the new Narcissus centre with three other people. Matthew said he was happy because the people he spends time with are about his age. “I’m very happy, the ward that opened is not for the elderly but for young people, so you feel comfortable.”

The Chief Executive of St. Vincent de Paule, Dr Josianne Cutajar, said that they are seeing positive results among the residents of the Narcis centre. “Improvements that are tangible. These people live in a youthful place, surrounded by a team who are prepared for them, and so they have a stimulus to go beyond the institutionalization they had in our wards.”

The Narcis centre opened in February and can accommodate sixteen people who have either become disabled due to an accident or need long-term care. Treatment is being provided by professionals with physiotherapy, occupational and speech therapy, dentistry and even psychological help. The Centre is equipped with a gym, indoor pool and multisensory room among other facilities.