Darwin hospital accused of racially profiling Gurrumul Yunupingu

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu. Photo: Glenn CampbellGurrumul cancels dates due to illness

The manager of Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu has accused a Darwin hospital of racial profiling amid claims the Indigenous singer was not treated for internal bleeding for eight hours.

Skinny Fish Music managing director Mark Grose said Yunupingu was admitted to Royal Darwin Hospital on Easter Sunday with complications relating to an ongoing liver condition resulting from having hepatitis B as a child.

He told ABC radio that both he and Yunupingu’s long-time private nurse had left the singer in the emergency department with the expectation he would have immediate surgery to stop the bleeding.

But Grose said his client was left in the emergency department for more than eight hours, where he was not properly treated and was “essentially deteriorating, and from my perspective, bleeding to death”.

“I believe there was an assumption that he was a drinker, and his problems were caused by alcohol and that the effort going into saving him would be useless anyway because he’d just go back to drinking,” he told the ABC.

“Again, I’d just like to say his condition is not related to drinking.”

In a letter of complaint to the chief executive of the NT Health Department, Grose said Yunupingu deteriorated to the point of needing to be transferred to the intensive care unit. [email protected]’s manager has complained to Royal #DarwinNT Hospital on the musician’s behalf. Comment sought from RDH. pic.twitter苏州美甲美睫培训学校/iPaBwZoJHy— 105.7 ABC Darwin (@1057darwin) April 4, 2016

“There are two assumptions that I can make, which are both very disturbing but need answering: was Gurrumul Yunupingu’s level of A&E care related to assumptions based on his race or is there a serious failure in the system that allows someone to be largely ignored in A&E while seriously ill?

In a statement, the Top End Health Service, which oversees the hospital, strongly rejected the claims and said an internal review of Yunupingu’s case determined his care was “timely and appropriate”.

“It is concerning it has been suggested that some care assumptions may have been made based on the patient’s race. I would like to categorically reject these claims,” executive director of medical services, Dinesh Arya, said.

Professor Arya said he had personally met Gurrumul on Monday and would extend an invitation for the singer and his carers to meet the clinicians responsible for his care to ask any questions about his treatment.

“The hospital has a proud multicultural staff and more than 60 per cent of patients admitted to Royal Darwin Hospital identify as Aboriginal. Claims of poor treatment due to a patient’s race have never been raised at the hospital and RDH will continue to provide the best possible service to all patients requiring treatment.”

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