Two years have passed since the death of Joyce Echaquan, an Atikamekw woman who received inhumane and racist treatment from nurses at a hospital in Joliette. Since Echaquan’s death, little has changed to address systemic racism within Quebec’s healthcare system.
The corner assessing Echaquan’s case said she believes she would still be alive if she were white. Countless other cases have taken a similar structure: racialized patients in excruciating pain, ignored or not prioritized by healthcare personnel causing them to receive inadequate or lack of treatment. Some cases have even resulted in death.
Despite multiple examples and a recent report highlighting its existence in one of Quebec’s largest hospital network located in Montreal, Premier François Legault continues to deny that systemic racism exists in the province.
In a province led by a government that denies the existence of systemic racism, can this institution have its reckoning and change so all can have equal access to healthcare?