Photos of Elliot Eurchuk at different stages of his short life. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Coroner’s inquest announced for Victoria teen’s overdose death

Elliot Eurchuk was 16 years old when he died of an opioid overdose at his Oak Bay home

A coroner’s inquest into the death of an Victoria-area teen has been scheduled – a welcome move called for by both the teen’s parents and former B.C. representative for children and youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond.

Elliot Eurchuk’s parents, Brock Eurchuk and Rachel Staples, called for an inquest in July into the events that led to Elliot’s death, and learned Tuesday morning that one is going ahead.

“It is never a happy time when looking at failures and the reason for a death,” said Staples,”but we are comfortable with moving forward and peeling back the layers of the onion to explore and encourage policy changes, including prescribing policies, how schools deal with mental health and addiction and a lot of areas in between.”

Elliot 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.

RELATED: Oak Bay parents request coroner’s inquest into overdose death of son

“Our son had a physician-assisted opioid dependency,” said Eurchuk. “We had a boy in acute pain, who wasn’t sleeping. The support he was getting from the medical system was pain management in the form of opioids, instead of addressing his shoulder which needed immediate help. The system cultivated a dependence on opioids.”

After seeing the recommendations and action items that came out of the Vancouver Island Health Authority’s internal quality review conducted into the medical care Elliot received before he died, Turpel-Lafond added her voice to the call for a coroner’s inquest. As the former representative for children and youth, Turpel-Lafond said some of the most effective areas where change was made was when there was a coroner’s inquest.

RELATED: Call gets louder for coroner’s inquest into overdose death of Oak Bay teen

“The biggest goal is to have a revamping of the B.C. Infants Act,” said Staples.

The Infants Act states that children under 19 years of age may consent to a medical treatment on their own as long as the health care provider is sure that the treatment is in the child’s best interest, and that the child understands the risks and benefits of the treatment.

“In instances of substance abuse, there is so much shame and stigma for the child, it is almost a reflex for them to hide it from their parents,” said Staples. “The act enables a child to exclude their parents from their care, at a time when they need their parents the most.”

Staples and her husband attempted to get access to Elliot’s health records after he had been in and out of hospital with serious infections. They were told that Elliot did not want them to know what was going on. Due to the Infants Act, doctors honoured Elliot’s wishes and told the parents nothing.

Elliot’s parents say they called for an inquiry to find out what systemic changes need to take place to prevent this from happening again. 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.

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

The public inquest into Elliot’s death by BC Coroners Service begins June 17 at the University of Victoria.

The inquest will review the circumstances of Eurchuk’s death and explore whether there are opportunities for a jury to make recommendations that may prevent deaths in similar circumstances.

Presiding coroner Michael Egilson and a jury will hear evidence from witnesses under oath to determine the facts surrounding this death.

The BC Coroners Service is not a fault-finding agency and the jury must not make any finding of legal responsibility – it gathers the facts surrounding why a death took place in order to provide an independent service to the family, community, government agencies and other organizations.


 

keri.coles@blackpress.ca

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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kootenay-Columbia MP urges end to ‘illegal roadblocks’ in solidarity with pipeline dispute

Rob Morrison says protestors across Canada need to remove roadblocks on roads, rail lines

Up to 15 cm of snow coming for Revelstoke

The snow should start tonight and continue through the weekend

Snow bike stunt movie filmed in downtown Revelstoke

The Way Home is an action sport film for Rockstar Energy, Polaris, and C3 Powersports

Letter: Dear Revelstoke City Council, say NO to highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The Central Alberta Economic Partnership is proposing a highway be built across Howse Pass

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Gas drops below a dollar per litre in Penticton

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Pawsative Pups: You have a new puppy, now what?

Lisa Davies is a new columnist for Black Press who writes about dog training

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

Sewer service planned for South Okanagan community of Kaleden

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen plans to extend Okanagan Falls system into Kaleden

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

Most Read