'We said our last goodbyes': Bourke Street survivor's trauma since attack

One of the survivors of the Bourke Street attack has revealed the emotional turmoil he’s endured since being stabbed in the head.

Retired Tasmanian businessman Rod Patterson says he and his wife Maree exchanged what they thought would be their final goodbyes, as he lay bleeding on Bourke Street.

The former firefighter tried to save the driver of the burning ute in Bourke Street, instead, that man slashed his head from the ear to the eye.

Rod Patterson was slashed by the Bourke Street attacked from his ear to his eye. Source: 7 News

“And I put my hand to it and I knew it wasn’t a cut, I knew it was a gash, I knew it wasn’t just bleeding, it was gushing,” Mr Patterson said.

His wife Maree was shopping inside JB Hi-Fi.

“I actually did try to ring him, he was clearly a bit busy at the time and didn’t answer,” she said.

Mr Patterson collapsed, just as someone distracted the attacker, probably saving his life.

“That’s when he went to the footpath and stabbed Sisto (Malaspina), I saw that, he was ten metres away,” Mr Patterson said.

Rod Patterson (left) survived the Bourke Street attack (scene pictured right). Source: 7News

Mrs Patterson found her husband bleeding badly.

“I knew I wasn’t in a good way and we probably said our last goodbyes,” Mr Patterson said.

“And she just kept telling me to keep breathing.”

Days later, Mr Patterson still can’t fathom the hatred that fuelled his attacker and admits he’s struggling emotionally.

Mr Patterson (centre) in hospital. Source: 7News

“People will see this on my head, but people won’t see the damage to my heart,” he said.

What’s buoyed him are thousands of messages of support.

“You don’t understand how much you’re loved until something like this happens,” Mr Patterson said.