Graca Machel, the widow of South Africa’s Nelson Mandela, has threatened legal action against his personal doctor, Vejay Ramlakan, over a book that reveals previously undisclosed details of his patient.
According to Africa Review, Dr Ramlakan, headed the former South African leader’s medical team until his death in December 2013 at the age of 95.
He released his book, “Mandela’s Last Years’’ on Tuesday to coincide with Mandela Day on July 18, in honour of his memory.
“I condemn the book in the strongest terms,” Ms Machel said in a statement released by her foundation.
“I am taking legal advice on whether to institute legal proceedings against the author and its publisher,” she said.
In the book, Ramlakan reveals intimate details of Mandela’s health condition including those of his admission at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital on June 8, in a “serious condition”.
“On the previous night, we surmised, a sudden ulcer bleed and concomitant lung infection had probably caused an aspiration from blood that was being regurgitated,” an extract of the book, published by Penguin Random House, reads.
The book recounts how Mandela had to wait for 30 minutes for a backup ambulance after the one transporting him to hospital caught fire on the highway.
The surgeon also reveals disagreements between Mandela’s family members and his doctors, and that a spy camera was found in the morgue where his body was held.
Ms Machel, who was married to Mandela in 1998, says the book is a “breach of the doctor-patient relationship of confidentiality”.
She said she would consult the executors of his will – Justice Dikgang Moseneke, George Bizos SC and Judge Themba Sangoni – on how “best protect Madiba’s good name and reputation”.