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

Masks and temperature checks now mandatory to enter Nanaimo’s Woodgrove Centre

Mall says it’s the first in B.C. to put the measures in place

Snuneymuxw, province sign land transfer agreement that includes parts of Mount Benson

First Nation sees economic development opportunities through forestry partnerships

Islands Trust Conservancy gets funding for protection of at-risk species

Conservancy manages habitat for more than 25 plant and animal species at risk

Nanaimo’s Western Edge Theatre returns to the stage in Port Theatre debut

Theatre group presents ‘2 Across,’ described as a ‘middle-aged romantic comedy’

Purebred breeders go for a walk in Nanaimo to show off their dogs

Purebred dog breeders sometimes get a bad rap, says event organizer

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

Most Read