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Gurrumul Yunupingu Almost Died After He Was Racially Profiled In Hospital, His Manager Says

The internationally renowned singer was left to bleed internally for eight hours.

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Internationally acclaimed Aboriginal singer Gurrumul Yunupingu was racially profiled when he was left to internally bleed for over eight hours by staff at the Royal Darwin Hospital, the singer's manager claims.

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"He was admitted on easter Sunday at about nine o'clock, into A&E at RDH and was then sent to the rapid assessment department, which basically is the place you go if urgent action is needed once A&E assess you," Yunupingu's manager Mark Grose told Channel 9 News.

"He got there about 1am in the morning and was not operated on until 10 or 11 the next morning. He was essentially internally bleeding for a good eight plus hours".

Grose believes that staff had racially profiled the Yolgnu man, who lives with Hepatitis B, as an alcoholic. Grose has now sent an angry letter to the hospital questioning why Yunupingu wasn't treated until he was on the verge of death.

"There are two assumptions that I can make which are both very disturbing but need answering. Was Gurrumul Yununpingu'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 by A&E while seriously ill?," Grose wrote in the letter.

Yunupingu has battled liver disease for the past several years due Hepatitis B, which he contracted as a child. After being admitted to hospital Yunupingu deteriorated so badly that he was vomiting blood.

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"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," Grose told the ABC.

Yunupingu was later moved to Darwin Private Hospital after the incident and is due to be discharged today.

The claims that Yunupingu was racially profiled have been rejected by Dinesh Arya, the Executive Director of Medical Services at the Top End Health Service, which oversees the hospital's service delivery.

"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," Arya told the ABC.

It's not the first time Yunupingu has been the target of alleged racism, in 2012, while on tour with singer Missy Higgins, he was refused a taxi in Melbourne after performing at the Palais Theatre.

Yunupingu has won several ARIA awards, sung for Queen Elizabeth ll, topped the charts in Italy, France, Spain and the Netherlands and sung duets with Delta Goodrem and Sting.

Allan Clarke is an Indigenous Affairs Reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

Contact Allan Clarke at allan.clarke@buzzfeed.com.

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