Discrimination blamed for death of woman mocked in ambulance call

Discrimination has been blamed in part for the death of a 22-year-old mother of one who called for an ambulance but was told that everyone dies.

Naomi Musenga, from Strasbourg, called the city’s emergency services late last year but was greeted with disdain by the operator, who threatened to hang up when she moaned and did not say immediately what was wrong with her and said she was going to die.

“You are certainly going to die someday, like everybody,” the operator said in a recording obtained by Heb’di.

Musenga was told to call a doctor service for her severe stomach ache rather than an ambulance, and she died several hours later after finally making it to a hospital, where an autopsy showing she had a heart attack as well as breathing problems.

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Her family, now caring for her 1-year-old daughter, has called out for more information about whether a response from the ambulance team would have saved their loved one’s life.

The story has spread from Strasbourg across the country, France’s Center for the Observation of Inequalities, called Codi, has organized a rally for Wednesday, along with a march in the young woman’s memory organized by “Justice for Naomi Musenga.”

Codi’s Thierry Paul Valette told Le Parisien that Musenga was a victim of discrimination, and that her age is “certainly something that played in her disfavor.”

Dr. Baptiste Beaulieu, who is also an author, told 20 Minutes that that the fact that Musenga’s name does not sound European may have played a role in her call not being taken seriously.

He said that some medical caregivers reference “Mediterranean syndrome” and believed that patients from certain countries exaggerate the pain of their symptoms.

The family has said they do not want to concentrate on the operator but on the system itself, which the operator’s lawyer told BFMTV was to blame for overworking its employees.

The operator herself, who has not been identified, told a French program that the quality of answering “degrades” during long sessions on the phone.