Horrifying footage shows Indigenous woman facing 'deeply racist' abuse from hospital staff just before her death

Horrifying footage shows Indigenous woman facing 'deeply racist' abuse from hospital staff just before her death

A nurse has been fired and an investigation launched in a Quebec hospital after an Indigenous woman recorded hospital staff abusing her before she died.

Joyce Echaquan, an Atikamekw woman, streamed her horrendous treatment to Facebook Live after she was hospitalised for a stomach ache on Saturday.

The video can be viewed here but there is a warning for graphic content and disturbing language.

In the footage, the mother of seven is heard screaming in pain and calling for help.

When a nursing staff member does respond to her call, they appear to use abusive language towards Echaquan.

In French, one nurse can be heard saying “You’re stupid as hell”.

Another – who is briefly seen at the end of the video – appears to question Echaquan’s pain, saying:

"Are you done acting stupid? Are you done?"

Her nursing partner joins in, adding “You made some bad choices, my dear.

“What are your children going to think, seeing you like this, eh?”

The first nurse then replies, saying: “She’s good at screwing, more than anything else. And we’re paying for this”.

Echaquan later died on Monday, reportedly after receiving morphine, although a family member has alleged that she had previously warned staff she couldn’t handle the drug because of underlying medical conditions.

The incident happened at a hospital in Joliette, 70km from Montreal.

Authorities are now investigating Echaquan’s treatment, admitting it was racist although Quebec’s premier refused to acknowledge systemic racism in the district.

François Legault told a reporter that the nurse in question’s behaviour was “unacceptable and racist” and that she had been “fired”.

However, he denied that institutional racism was a problem in Quebec.

A lawyer leading an independent investigation into alleged racism in British Columbia’s healthcare system said what happened to Echaquan was “deeply racist”.

“This tragic case that has come to national attention today... reminds us that this is a national issue,” said Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond.

“It is shocking because of the recording and the distress and so it is a deeply troubling example of not just a lack of care, but some deeply racist views that caused someone to be treated as less than human”.

Echaquan's death has led to an outpouring of grief and calls for change on social media.

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