Hospital staff in the Quebec city of Joliette have been filmed taunting a dying Indigenous woman.
On Monday, Joyce Echaquan arrived at the hospital with stomach pain.
According to The Guardian, ‘the mother of seven had previously suffered similar issues and told staff she had a heart condition’. Noticing that the hospital staff was indifferent to her pleas for help, Echaquan had decided to live-stream her experience on Facebook. This video caused outrage as in the footage, the woman is seen grimacing in pain as members of the hospital staff call her ‘stupid as hell’. In addition to this, The Guardian further reported that in the video, the nurses were heard saying the following:
“Are you done acting stupid? Are you done?”
“You made some bad choices, my dear […] What are your children going to think, seeing you like this?”
“She’s good at having sex, more than anything else.”
Unsurprisingly, the racism which Echaquan filmed has caused outrage.
Echaquan’s experience and the footage she had recorded ‘expose the grim realities of systemic racism’. In a statement, the Assembly of First Nations national chief, Perry Bellegarde commented on this:
‘Discrimination against First Nations people remains prevalent in the healthcare system and this needs to stop’. Furthermore, Marc Miller, federal Indigenous services minister, spoke to reporters saying:
“This is the worst face of racism […] This is someone who is at their most vulnerable. And they are dying, having heard racist words expressed towards them.”
At least one of the nurses has been fired.
The Quebec premier, François Legault has reportedly condemned the actions of the staff and has told reporters that at least one of the nurses has been fired. In addition to this, an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the woman’s death is currently ongoing.