Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu‘s manager Mark Grose has penned a letter to the Royal Darwin Hospital after Gurrumul was left for eight hours without receiving necessary surgery for internal bleeding.
ABC has obtained a letter written to the hospital by Grose who explains that Gurrumul’s case became so severe in that eight hours that he was taken to ICU when what he needed was a “relatively simple surgery”.
Grose has lodged a formal complaint with the hospital and also accused them of “racial profiling” or a “serious fault in the system”, for allowing him to be left for so long.
Gurrumul was admitted to hospital on Easter Sunday with internal bleeding due to a pre-existing condition and Grose and his wife left the hospital after admitting him, “confident in the knowledge that everything was under control and we would go back and see him the next day,” as Grose told ABC News.
He further said that the musician was written off as “a drinker” even though his condition is related to a liver condition caused by having Hepatitis B as a child.
“Was Gurrumul Yunupingu’s level of A&E care related to assumptions based on his race or is there a serious fault in the system that allows someone to be largely ignored in A&E while seriously ill,” Grose questioned in the letter, which can be read in full below.
According to ABC, a formal investigation into the situation has been ruled-out by NT Health Minister John Elfernik.
“We’ve already had a preliminary investigation overnight on the back of these allegations and they are insupportable,” he told ABC Darwin.
He also said that Gurrumul’s care was “timely and appropriate,” shutting down claims that the hospital racially profiled him.
“Many patients are asked as part of a standard process whether or not they have been drinking as part of the diagnostic approach,” said Elfernik.
“To extrapolate from that that he’s been racially profiled is nothing short of ridiculous.”
Those claims have, however, been contested by Gurruml’s doctor and kidney specialist, Dr Paul Lawton, who argued that he’s lucky to be alive referencing a 2014 federal report into the Australian health care system.
“Aboriginal people admitted to hospital are much less likely to get a procedure for that condition than non-Aboriginal people in Australia,” Dr Lawton said.
“That holds true in the Northern Territory.”
Rapper Briggs who collaborated with the ARIA Award-winning artist on The Hunt has called the situation “bullshit upon bullshit,” in a tweet linking to the letter.
Gurrumul is currently working on his fourth album, a follow-up to last year’s The Gospel Album. He is still in hospital but his management are confident he is “on the road to recovery”.
Watch: Gurrumul – Wiyathul