‘Amélie asked for help’: Parents of Quebec woman who died by suicide testify at inquiry

Click to play video: 'Quebec coroner begins inquest into suicide of 22-year-old woman with Lyme disease'
Quebec coroner begins inquest into suicide of 22-year-old woman with Lyme disease
WATCH: More than one year after a 22-year-old woman died by suicide in Montreal, a public inquiry into her death is underway. Amélie Champagne was suffering from symptoms of Lyme disease for years and her parents say they were victims of a failed health-care system. Global's Felicia Parrillo reports. – Dec 11, 2023

Emotions were running high at the Montreal courthouse Monday, where Amélie Champagne’s parents testified on the first day in the public inquiry into her death.

In September 2022, Amélie’s father, Alain Champagne, former Groupe Jean Coutu CEO and currently president and CEO of Le Groupe Maurice, posted about his daughter’s death in a LinkedIn post, saying that Lyme disease had “kidnapped his daughter.”

In later interviews, he accused Quebec’s health-care system of failing his daughter, saying she did not obtain appropriate psychiatric care.

Soon after, the office of Chief Coroner Pascale Descary said that an inquest will aim to shed light on the circumstances and factors that contributed to the young woman’s death.

During the testimonies on Monday, her parents said that the 22-year-old had suffered from symptoms of Lyme disease for about seven years.

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In the days leading up to her death, her parents say Amélie attempted suicide in a lake near their home in Sherbrooke and was admitted to a nearby hospital.

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There, she was put under observation for two nights and three days before being released.

Her parents say that they were told by staff she wasn’t able to be treated there since she had an address in Montreal. They referred her to the Notre-Dame hospital.

Soon after, on Sept. 11, 2022, Amélie died by suicide.

“Our family was a witness, we were a victim of a system that failed,” Alain Champagne told reporters on Monday. “We think it is important to know the context and shed light on the circumstances.

“Amélie asked for help. As a family we asked for help and what we experienced was not a problem of access to health care, it was a rejection.”

The public inquiry, presided over by coroner Julie-Kim Godin will will continue for the rest of the week.

Doctors, psychiatrists and other family members are also expected to testify.

A second week of testimonies is also scheduled for late January.

Click to play video: 'Quebec nurses, health-care workers begin 4-day walkout'
Quebec nurses, health-care workers begin 4-day walkout

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