'Below Deck Mediterranean' Second Stew Kyle Viljoen Dealt With a Rare Health Condition

Kyle Viljoen had to deal with major health issues amid the airing of ‘Below Deck Mediterranean’ Season 8. He details what happened on Instagram.

Jamie Lerner - Author

Oct. 3 2023, Published 1:04 p.m. ET

The Gist:

  • Below Deck Mediterranean Second Stew Kyle Viljoen had a health scare in September 2023.
  • Kyle's fiancé, Zachary Riley, rushed Kyle to the hospital after a misdiagnosis of hand-foot-mouth disease.
  • Kyle was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), a rare condition that is a reaction to medication.
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It’s always scary when a friend or loved one ends up in the hospital, and now, one of our weekly besties just shared some terrifying news. Kyle Viljoen first joined the Below Deck family in Season 7 of Below Deck Mediterranean as the Second Stew to Captain Sandy Yawn. He caused quite a bit of drama in his first season, but he’s back for Season 8!

However, while the season airs months after filming, Kyle had his own live drama when it came to his health. On Sept. 29, 2023, Kyle’s fiancé, Dr. Zachary Riley, rushed Kyle to the hospital for some scarily severe symptoms. It’s been a scary week for the couple, but after they shared what happened, Kyle’s health issues seem to have subsided.

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Kyle Viljoen in 'Below Deck Med'
Source: Bravo

‘Below Deck Mediterranean’ star Kyle Viljoen dealt with scary health issues.

Getting ahead of the paparazzi and rumors, Kyle Viljoen decided to share the news himself of what happened to his health. He explained in an Instagram post, “Late Sunday night was the start to a scary ride for Zachary and I. After starting a new medication, I begin to feel generally unwell. Little did I know the battle I was going to face was the most painful and traumatic bodily experience of my life.

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“Monday started with throat pain like none other. Spread to my mouth, lips, hands, and feet. Having gone to the walk-in clinic and diagnosed with hand-foot-mouth disease they sent me on my way. Wednesday–Thursday I suffered from worsening blisters, inability to tolerate swallowing, tongue swelling, and change in vision. Friday there was still no sign of relief. Zachary rushed me to NYU ER.”

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He shared that once he was at the ER, he bypassed others waiting because his condition was so severe. Over 20 doctors looked at him, from dermatologists to ophthalmologists, and they eventually diagnosed him with the rare condition, Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS). “[SJS] is a rare, serious disorder of the skin and mucous membranes,” Kyle wrote. “Treated as a medical emergency requiring hospitalization.”

He continued his explanation of the condition and shared that it’s “usually a reaction to certain medications that starts with flu-like symptoms, followed by a painful rash that spreads with bursting and oozing blisters. Then the top layer of affected skin dies & sheds. Treated with intensive IVIG transfusions and medical treatment.” Honestly, that does not sound fun.

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While Kyle was the source of some drama and tension on the yacht, no one wants Kyle to end up in the hospital! Luckily, with the support of the NYU medical staff and Zachary, Kyle seems to be doing well. In fact, he says that he learned a lot from his experience. “One, advocate for your health and treat your body seriously. If something doesn’t feel right seek treatment,” he wrote. “Two, family and a support system is EVERYTHING.”

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Many of us have heard tales over the years of doctors not taking patients seriously, or writing off symptoms as the most common denominator instead of something more serious and rare. This is why it’s so important to have that support system, which we hope Kyle never takes for granted.

Kyle Viljoen in 'Below Deck Med'
Source: Bravo

Will we see any hints of Kyle’s health struggle on Season 8 of Below Deck Med? It’s unlikely, considering the fact that the season was filmed long before his stint in the hospital. However, if he continued on to Season 9, his life lessons might just take over as the Third Stew.

New episodes of Below Deck Mediterranean air every Monday at 9 p.m. EST on Bravo.

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