Brock Eurchuk and Rachel Staples, whose 16-year-old son Elliot Eurchuk died from an accidental overdose, requests a coroner’s inquest into his death. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

B.C. parents request coroner’s inquest into overdose death of son

Family believes full and public investigation will prevent similar deaths

The parents of a B.C. teen who died from an accidental overdose are calling for a coroner’s inquest into the events that led to his death.

The intent is not to lay blame, they say, but to prevent other parents and families from having to endure the unnecessary and tragic death of a child.

Elliot Eurchuk was 16 years old when he died of an opioid overdose at his Oak Bay home on April 20. He battled drug dependency after he was prescribed opioids for four major surgeries in 2017, as a result of sports injuries. When his prescriptions of the highly addictive opioids ran out, he turned to street drugs. His parents say they are calling for an inquiry to find out what systemic changes need to take place to prevent this from happening again.

The request for the coroner’s inquest into the death of Elliot was sent in a letter to the Chief Coroner and the Attorney General Friday by Michael R. Scherr, the lawyer representing Elliot’s parents Rachel Staples and Brock Eurchuk.

“It is the family’s belief that only with a full and public investigation will similar deaths be prevented. In addition to the prevention of deaths, the overall health and wellness of many children in the province can be improved,” reads the letter.

Elliot’s parents say that current legislation blocked them from helping their son, as it allowed Elliot to request that medical staff withhold all information regarding his high risk behaviour from his parents.

“Kids try to make these decisions for themselves. If they don’t want the help, there is nothing in our legal system that allows us as parents to get them the help they need,” said Staples.

RELATED: Oak Bay dad pens letter urging overhaul of youth health laws after son’s fatal overdose

The letter lays out a timeline and the parents’ corresponding concerns.

On Feb. 10, while in care at Victoria General Hospital, Brock Eurchuk says Elliot was found not breathing and unresponsive in his hospital bed. A “code blue” was initiated and Elliot was revived with Naloxone – a medication used to block the effects of opioids. That event was the first clear indication Elliot’s parents had of the severity of his drug use.

On Feb. 12, his parents say they pleaded with the hospital to keep him under care until they had “an effective, well laid out plan to address substance abuse difficulties.”

On Feb. 14, four days after Elliot’s non-responsive episode, Elliot’s parents say he was discharged with no plan or supports in place to address the addiction.

On Feb. 16, his parents admitted Elliot to the hospital with police intervention under section 28 of the Mental Health Act for a 6-7 day stay.

Elliot was released and the physicians, according to his parents, ceased prescribing opioids. Elliot turned to street drugs and died on April 20 of an accidental overdose.

“The circumstances around the health supports (or lack thereof), school situations, institutional engagement with the family, legislative and health institutional policies and practices have yet to be investigated,” states the letter.

RELATED: Parents call for change to health laws after Oak Bay teen’s death

The Vancouver Island Health Authority conducted an internal review of the standard of care that Elliot received while at the hospital, producing a report with recommendations that have not yet been released.

“While VIHA has investigated the matter, the results of that investigation are not being made public. VIHA has confirmed that the investigation report will not even be disclosed to the family. This is insufficient,” reads the inquiry request letter.

VIHA clarifies that Section 51 of the BC Evidence Act prohibits them from disclosing information and documentation collected as part of a hospital’s quality of care review. However VIHA confirmed that the Eurchuk family will receive the recommendations that come out of the report. The family is currently awaiting those recommendations.

BC Coroners Service has confirmed they have received the request for a public inquest into the death of Elliot Eurchuk.

“While there are cases that under our legislation are mandatory to go to an inquest, these are mostly police-involved deaths, and would not apply in this case. Thus, it will be up to the Chief Coroner to decide whether this case would benefit from a public inquest,” said Barb McLintock, BC Coroner’s Service.

The Chief Coroner will wait until all the investigative research has been completed, and all the necessary reports – such as autopsy and toxicology– are received. The Chief Coroner will then review the file in detail, and make a decision. The family’s views are taken into account in that review.

“We do always announce publicly all inquests that are scheduled once a time and place are decided upon,” said McLintock.

It is Brock Eurchuk’s hope that the coroner’s inquest will help to advance an amendment to the Safe Care Act prioritizing a parent’s right to access their child’s medical information in circumstances where that child is exhibiting lethal at risk behaviour.


 

keri.coles@oakbaynews.com

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Brock Eurchuk and Rachel Staples, whose 16-year-old son Elliot Eurchuk died from an accidental overdose, requests a coroner’s inquest into his death. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Just Posted

Haida Gwaii high schools get a jump on new curriculum

Haida Gwaii high school students are starting the year with some new… Continue reading

Haida Gwaii Funeral Services gets support

Village of Queen Charlotte donates storage facility to non-profit group

Tlellagraph: One fire, two points of view

“No matter how good a person you are, you are evil in… Continue reading

Community dinner set to honour responders who handled Q.C. explosion

Potluck-style dinner set for Friday, Oct. 5 at the Queen Charlotte Community Hall

Work begins to remove cargo from grounded Haida Gwaii barge and fishing lodge

Westcoast Resorts’ Hippa Lodge broke from its moorings and ran aground early this month

Canning sockeye by hand in North Coast B.C.

Arnie Nagy teaches the Northern View how to can salmon in Prince Rupert

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

Fashion Fridays: Rock some animal print

Kim XO, lets you in on the latest fall fashion trends on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

New evacuations ordered because of Florence flooding

Emergency managers on Friday ordered about 500 people to flee homes along the Lynches River

B.C. doctor weighs in on the kid ‘screen time’ debate

A Maple Ridge mother opens up about her children’s use of tablets, smartphones and television

B.C. councillor’s expenses being sent to the RCMP

Decision to have expenses audited and shared with RCMP taken at special meeting of council

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in 22 per cent of B.C. cities

Legal society poster seeks complainants against two cops on Downtown Eastside

Pivot Legal Society became aware of allegations made against the officers after a video circulated

Most Read