TROIS-RIVIERES, QUE — A coroner who released a report last week into the death of Joyce Ichquan, urging Quebec to recognize systemic racism and drive it out of institutions, addressed her findings Tuesday.
Gehne Kamel oversaw the investigation into Ichquan’s death, which found that her death was accidental, while the racism and prejudice of the Atikamek woman contributed to her death.
“I must honestly admit that this public inquiry and some of the witnesses have shocked me,” she said, recalling the events that led to the seven’s deaths.
Ichquan, a 37-year-old mother of seven, filmed herself as a nurse on Facebook Live and an orderly abusive to her at a hospital in Joliet, Ky., Northeast, on September 28, 2020, shortly before her death. Comment was heard. of Montreal.
Kamel said racism and discrimination contributed to his death and that the tragedy could have been prevented. She called on Quebec to recognize the existence of systemic racism in its institutions.
Kamel was visibly emotional while answering questions, including moments where she held back her tears.
“In Quebec in 2021, can we let someone die because this person is treated like an animal,” she said. “What I’m saying here is difficult, but that’s what I thought for a long time, and maybe it will stay with me for a long time.”
- WATCH LIVE at 2PM: Family of Joyce Ichquan reacts to coroner’s report
Video of her treatment went viral and sparked outrage and condemnation, and final reports of her death found her initial diagnosis was based on bias and that she had not been properly monitored before she was eventually transferred to intensive care.
“Without the video, Ms. Ichakan would never have been heard. This observation sends a chill down the spine,” Kamel said.
Ichquan died of pulmonary edema associated with a rare heart condition.
Despite the coroner’s recommendation, the Legault government has strongly denied that systemic racism exists in the province.
“We have seen an unacceptable death and we must make sure it doesn’t go in vain,” Kamel said. “It is unacceptable that large sections of our society deny such a well-documented reality.”
When asked whether Kamel thought Ichquan would be alive if she were a white woman, the coroner’s response was simple and straightforward.
“I think so,” she said.
Ichquan’s family did not comment on the findings released last week, but is expected to do so later today.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on October 5, 2021.
— Granthshala News Montreal reporter Daniel J. Rowe’s files.