Picture it. Your stomach is tearing itself apart, the pain more than you’ve ever had to bear. It feels like your own stomach acid is folding into your other organs and fire spreads through your body. You call emergency services and the operator’s response is, “Yes, you’re definitely going to die…”
In Strasbourg, France, Naomi Musenga, 22 years old and a mother of one, died of multiple organ failures and cardiac arrest. The case was dismissed as a sad and senseless death, made worse by the mystery surrounding her condition. The exact cause of death remains unknown.
However, a recording of Musenga’s call to emergency services surfaced recently, and it has horrified thousands across the globe.
Here is the full transcript:
Musenga: “Help me, ma’am.”
Operator: “Yes, what’s wrong?”
Musenga: “Help me.”
Operator: “What’s wrong?”
Operator: “If you don’t tell me what’s going on, I’ll hang up.”
Musenga: “Ma’am, it hurts a lot.”
Operator: “Yeah, well, call a doctor, huh? Call the doctor who makes house calls.” [gives her the number of the SOS Médicins, a service that dispatches individual doctors as opposed to ambulances]
Musenga: “I can’t.”
Operator: “You can’t? You can call emergency services, but you can’t–”
Musenga: “I’m gonna die.”
Operator: “Yes, you’re definitely going to die some day, just like everyone else. Call the SOS doctors.” [The operator then gives her the phone number of the SOS Médecins.]
Musenga: Please help me, Ma’am.
Operator: I can’t help you if you don’t tell me what’s wrong with you.
Musenga: There’s so much pain, I have very bad pain.
Musenga: My stomach hurts a lot… I feel awful everywhere.
Operator: Okay, then call the SOS doctors. [The operator gives her the number again]
At this point, Musenga hangs up.
The family acknowledges that the operator was likely under high levels of stress, having already worked four hours jammed full of calls, some of which were serious, but most of which were either pranks or dramatized incidents that did require direct medical attention.
The operator, who wishes to remain anonymous, describes her actions as “inappropriate”, but insists that. “We are under constant pressure… We hang up and we pick up.”
Musenga’s family doesn’t wish to punish the operator for her actions. They acknowledge the tremendous pressure emergency operators are under and, though they will never forget their precious Naomi, they can find it in their hearts to forgive those who contributed to her passing.
With support from concerned citizens, friends and family started the hashtag, #JusticePourNaomi, which translates to mean Justice For Naomi.