The head nurse at a Quebec hospital where Joyce Echaquan died last September told a coroner’s inquest Thursday the Indigenous patient’s care should have been taken more seriously.
Echaquan, a 37-year-old Atikamekw mother of seven, filmed herself on Facebook Live as a nurse and an orderly were heard insulting and mocking her at the hospital in Joliette, Que., shortly before she died last Sept. 28.
She had arrived at the hospital two days earlier with severe stomach pains, but staff had listed her as going through withdrawal, which influenced her treatment plan.
Head nurse Josée Roch testified today that Echaquan’s condition was somewhat trivialized by hospital staff.
She says that on the morning of Echaquan’s death, she had received an uncommon visit from a liaison nurse who had said requests to transfer Echaquan to the hospital’s reanimation room were refused.
Roch, who is testifying for a second day, says she had not asked to see Echaquan’s medical records and her assistant had offered assurances the patient’s condition was being looked after.
Under questioning from the inquiry counsel, Roch said she should have gone to the reanimation room herself.
The video shot by Echaquan had captured the attention of hospital management, including Roch, who said she had questioned staff about it.
Coroner’s inquest begins into Joyce Echaquan’s death
Roch faced several questions today about a phone call with a nurse who had testified earlier during the coroner’s inquest. The inquiry lawyer questioned Roch about whether she had discussed her testimony with that witness.
The inquiry also heard that Roch had carpooled to the hearings with two other witnesses.
Roch admitted to having chatted with the assistant head nurse on the phone, but denied they had discussed their testimony.
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