- Joyce Echaquan live-streamed her last moments on Facebook, which showed two nurses throwing racist insults at her.
- Her death is now deemed not just insulting but also racially motivated.
- As double investigations have been launched, talks are also set between the hospital and the Atikamekw community.
Canada is in outrage as a video live-streamed by a woman on her deathbed showed her enduring racist taunts and verbal abuse. The Facebook live stream was heartbreaking as the voices of the abusers can be heard throwing insults at her.
As translated from French, one of the nurses can be heard saying, “You made some bad choices, my dear. What are your children going to think, seeing you like this?”
The other nurse said, “She’s good at having sex, more than anything else.”
Then, either of the two can be heard calling her “stupid as hell.”
This is what 37-year old Joyce Echaquan, a member of the Atikamekw, endured at their hands at the Lanaudière Integrated Health and Social Services Center (CISSS) in Joliette before she died.
Echaquan reluctantly went to the hospital for stomach pains. She has suffered from various health conditions but her previous experiences with the hospital earned her mistrust.
Sebastien Moar, Echaquan’s cousin, told CBC, “She always said, at the hospital, they never did anything. They just made sure she wasn’t hurting. She always had appointments and she said the nurses seemed fed up with her.”
According to the Quebec Government, a coroner’s inquiry and administrative probe have been set in motion regarding the incident while one of the two nurses involved has already been fired by CISSS.
Echaquan’s husband, Carol Dubé, said that the nurses really intended to insult his wife and now many believed that the incident was racially motivated.
From a statement by the Native Women’s Association of Canada, “Joyce Echaquan went to the hospital for medical help. Instead, she was told she’s stupid, only good for sex, and she would be better off dead as she pleaded for help before dying.”
Dubé added, “I have seven children who find themselves without a mother. I am sad. I am so sad.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “This is yet another example of systemic racism. It is quite simply unacceptable in Canada.”
He continued, “A rapid investigation is essential to establish if it was more than just simple racist words. We urge Quebec to take quick action and we will do our utmost to eliminate racism where it exists and to support people who are affected.”
Echaquan’s death has also led to the CISS and the hospital to find ways to better work with the Atikamekw community. A meeting is set with the head of the Atikamekw Council of Manawan, Paul-Émile Ottawa; and CISSS president and CEO Daniel Castonguay.
A GoFundMe set up for the family has now reached over $270,000.