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Indigenous women's group wants allegations Quebec nurses mocked patient investigated

People take part in a protest called ‘Justice for Joyce’ in Montreal, Saturday, October 3, 2020, where they demanded Justice for Joyce Echaquan and an end to all systemic racism. Echaquan died in a Joliette Hospital earlier in the week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

MONTREAL — A national Indigenous women’s organization is calling for a full investigation into allegations two Quebec nurses at a public clinic northeast of Montreal mocked an Indigenous patient. 

The Native Women’s Association of Canada says it’s outraged by the incident involving two nurses who allegedly called a patient “Joyce” in reference to Joyce Echaquan — an Atikamekw woman who filmed herself being mocked by health-care workers as she lay dying in a Joliette, Que., hospital in September. 

The nurses allegedly made the comments last week in the same city located about 60 kilometres northeast of Montreal. The regional health authority says the health-care workers have been suspended.

The Indigenous association said today in a statement that while it’s pleased to hear the nurses have been suspended and the health authority is looking into the incident despite the absence of a formal complaint, it wants a full investigation.

Joliette’s health authority confirmed Monday the two suspended nurses had participated in a sensitivity and “cultural safety” training conference — part of a series of measures put in place after Echaquan’s death.

The Native Women’s Association says Indigenous people regularly have negative experiences in health-care settings, which it says has contributed to worse health outcome for Indigenous people in Canada. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 16, 2021.


This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press