Oct 04, 2020

By Jeremy Logan

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Advocates and patients say the fate of an Indigenous woman who died in a Quebec hospital after filming staff insulting her is a tragic example of the systemic racism many Indigenous people face when accessing Canada’s health-care system.

Joyce Echaquan died soon after she filmed herself from her hospital bed last Monday while she was in clear distress and pleading for help.

Hospital staff can be heard in the video making degrading comments about the Atikamekw mother of seven, including calling her stupid and saying she’d be better off dead.

Metis Canadian senator, lawyer and former nurse Yvonne Boyer says what happened to Echaquan was in no way a surprise.

Boyer says discrimination in the health-care system is pervasive and spans every province and territory.

Echaquan’s death created widespread indignation, several inquiries and a lawsuit from her family against the hospital where she died in Joliette, Quebec, about 70 kilometres north of Montreal.

The province’s chief coroner announced today that an inquest into her death would be launched as soon as possible.

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