The nurse who mocked Joyce Echaquan as the Manawan woman lay dying on a hospital bed last year appeared in front of a professional tribunal last week in an attempt to keep her nursing license.
Paule Rocray pled guilty to verbal violence and negligence in treatment of a patient over her actions while in care of Echaquan, where she was seen mocking and belittling the 37-year-old mother of seven as she lay on a gurney in a Joliette hospital last year. Echaquan died a death that was preventable, a doctor told the coroner’s inquest looking into the matter.
Echaquan broadcast her final moments on Facebook live, which brought much-needed attention to the treatment of Indigenous people in Quebec health-care facilities. Sadly, the coroner’s inquest also heard Echaquan’s treatment was not the first time Indigenous people have been marginalized by Quebec hospital staff.
Rocray appeared in front of the disciplinary committee of the provincial order of nurses, l’Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec.
The Facebook live video filmed and broadcast by Echaquan was played for the committee.
During her testimony, Rocray burst into tears on several occasions, saying the stress of working in a hospital environment during the COVID-19 pandemic caused her outburst.
“It was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” she said.
She also said she sees herself as a kind person and said it was the first time in her 33 years of experience that she had gotten angry toward a client.
Lawyers for both sides proposed a plea agreement that would suspend Rocray’s right to practice for 18 months – 12 months sanction for the verbal violence and six months for the negligence. Rocray’s lawyer, Conrad Lords, said his client has cooperated from the beginning and has expressed remorse for her actions.
The decision remains in the hands of the Nurses’ Order disciplinary committee. No timetable has been set for their decision, but they said the decision would come as soon as possible.
Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase