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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.

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

The Canadian Press