On May 30, Dr Patrick Pritzwald-Stegmann left for work to begin another day of work as a cardiothoracic surgeon.
On a day when he was meant to save the lives of others, his own was cut short.
One moment of incomprehensible violence outside weary hospital sliding doors has ended in a family in mourning and a dad leaving his young children forever.
On that frosty Tuesday in South Eastern Melbourne, Dr Pritzwald-Stegmann simply requested a man stop smoking in the non-smoking area at the entrance of Box Hill Hospital, where he worked. He was then allegedly hit from behind in a brutal one-punch assault resulting in his immediate admission to hospital.
Overnight, the Pritzwald-Stegmann family would begin to see their beloved father and husband slip away. Though he had been clinging to life in the Alfred Hospital Intensive Care Unit, their hopes for recovery weren’t to be.
Four weeks after that punch, a heart-wrenching decision to end Dr Pritzwald-Stegmann’s life support was made. He was just 41 years old, leaving behind a wife and twin daughters. Twin daughters who should be saying goodnight to their father, not goodbye.
Following his death, there has been an outpouring of messages of support for Patrick, his family, friends and colleagues. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, Shadow Health Minister Catherine King and surgical colleague Jill Tomlinson have paid tribute.
At a time when words would be understandably hard to find, the family has released a statement expressing their grief.