An Aboriginal Woman Was Taunted on Her Death Bed in a Canadian Hospital

The story of Joyce Echaquan’s death and her brave last act

Photograph courtesy of CBC.ca, submitted by Joyce’s family from Facebook

Joyce Echaquan, a 37-year-old loving mother to seven children, passed away Monday, September 28, 2020. Although Joyce was young, she had health problems for most of her life. At the time of her death, she was staying in a hospital in Joliette, 58 kilometers away from Montreal.

When Joyce was admitted to the hospital for stomach pain last week, it was noted that she had a pacemaker and a heart problem. Before her death on Monday, she felt she was given too much morphine and was very worried about the consequences, her cousin Mirella Dubé said in an interview via Facebook.

When she voiced these concerns to the attending nurses, they ignored her cries for help and openly taunted her while she laid strapped to a hospital bed.

A Brave Last Act

While she was dying, Joyce did something that most people wouldn’t think to do or have the strength to do: She grabbed her phone, opened Facebook, and went live for everyone to see how she was being treated.

In the 7-minute-long video, Joyce is panting and struggling to breathe as the nurses who were supposed to be caring for her openly taunted her with sarcastic remarks.

“You’re stupid as hell,” one woman said in French. “Are you done acting stupid? Are you done?”

Another woman was seen at the end of the video, while Joyce gasped for air, she said: “You made some bad choices, my dear. What are your children going to think, seeing you like this, eh?”

“She’s good at screwing, more than anything else. And we’re paying for this,”

The video ended after this interaction and Joyce died. The last words she heard, were the hurtful words these women said to her.

A Troubling History at Some Canadian Hospitals

For almost 10 years, I worked as a medical professional in special care facilities, attending to people who suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia at the end of their lives.

Regardless of race, religion, or their demeanor, they all received the same dignified treatment from me. Unfortunately, this is not always the case in some Canadian hospitals.

Recently, I wrote an article about Brian Sinclair, An aboriginal man from Winnipeg who was ignored to death in a Manitoba emergency room. It is believed that the healthcare staff assumed that Brian was drunk or sleeping off a hangover because he was Aboriginal.

In another case, in British Columbia, it was reported that nurses and doctors would play a game where they guessed the blood alcohol level of Aboriginal patients in the emergency room.

Fortunately, this unacceptable behavior is being investigated and these healthcare professionals are being held accountable. Sadly, this is not preventing these acts of systemic racism in Canada’s health care system.

These workers are being investigated and Quebec’s premier, François Legault was disgusted with the video and the way Joyce was treated during her last moments.

He told the press that one of the workers was fired immediately.

“She was fired. Now, to say that all nurses and the whole health care system would have acted that way, everyone would say no.”

He still argues that Quebec and the rest of Canada do not have a problem with systemic racism as he did during the Black Lives Matter protests.

Legault moves onto his next media scrum and Joyce’s family and loving husband must carry on without her.

Please note: I would normally explore Joyce’s life and pay homage to her in a more direct way: Her hobbies, dreams, and upbringing. Her death happened only two days ago and that information is unavailable at this time. I plan on updating this article with more information once more is known about Joyce.

Amy Sarah is a freelance writer who hails from a small city in Canada. She enjoys interacting with fellow writers, dreaming of ideas for her next article, and researching a myriad of topics

Wife, mother, and researcher of a myriad of subjects. I love to write about anything and everything! Writer for The Startup, Better Marketing, & The Ascent👊

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