France is in uproar after an emergency service operator is heard in a recorded phone call mocking a young mother who subsequently died hours later after her call was ignored.
The three-minute audio was obtained by the family of the victim, 22-year-old Naomi Musenga, who can be heard telling the operator of strong stomach pain and saying "I'll die".
The operator is heard replying: "You'll definitely die one day, like everyone else."
Ms Musenga had to call another service after the worker on Strasbourg's ambulance service (Samu) told her to do so, telling her: "I can't do it for you."
The service she then called, SOS Médecins, only sends out doctors instead of an ambulance.
After a five-hour wait, she was taken to a hospital but suffered a heart attack and died of "multiple organ failure due to a hemorrhagic shock", according to Le Monde newspaper.
During the exchange, Ms Musenga can be heard in a very weak voice struggling to describe her pain, before the operator replies: "If you don't tell me what's going on, I'll hang up."
"I have a lot of pain," the woman replies.
The operator and another member of staff can also be heard making fun of the young mother.
The case, which dates back to December, has only surfaced recently after the audio was published by a local website. France's health minister has ordered an investigation.
Strasbourg University Hospitals have told France's BFMTV that the operator had been "administratively suspended", and they have launched an investigation "to shed light on the facts reported".
A former Samu employee has told Le Parisien newspaper that between 10 and 20 of 100 calls are real emergencies.
They said: "We're constantly afraid of being wrong”, before adding that most callers are either drunk, anxious or want someone to talk to.
Speaking to French broadcaster LCI, Musenga's sister said: "[Naomi] was alone, she said she was going to die, her sheets were soiled, no-one should die in these conditions".
Describing Musenga as "bright, strong, courageous", she added: "Naomi, as a human being... simply had the right to be rescued, to be cared for. This must not happen again."
A Facebook page, Justice pour Naomi Musenga (Justice for Naomi Musenga), has called for the "truth and justice", while a hashtag #JusticePourNaomi has also surfaced.
- Digital Desk