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

VIDEO: Natalie Geldar wows judges to win Duncan Has Talent show/cover tunes

Sierra Compton takes second, and Naomi Davies places third in finals July 13

The clothes are as hot as the weather at the Duncan Day Fashion Show

Downtown businesses get to show their style while audience enjoys it from the shade

Andrea Rondeau column: Heat wave has people taking out their crankiness on others

It’s the kind of heat that has car horns honking, and tempers flaring a little more easily.

Sarah Simpson column: To the guy who told me to ‘listen to my husband’

SURELY, repeat, SURELY, that means somebody out there thinks I’m interesting?

Volunteers hard at work making meals for BC Summer Games

“We just keep cooking and cooking.”

Here’s what you need to know about Day 2 at the BC Games

From equestrian to volleyball to swimming, all 18 events in full swing here in the Cowichan Valley

Coming up in Cowichan: Medicine walk

Sylvester will teach participants about traditional uses for many of the plants that grow naturally

Brush fire breaks out west of Port Alberni

Fire forces partial closure of Highway 4 heading to Ucluelet and Tofino

Accident on Vancouver Island after artillery gun rolls down hill and damages taxi

Witness says accident happend about 1 p.m. Saturday; RCMP investigating

B.C. mining company, involved in 2014 spill, ordered to pay lost wages

Mount Polley Mining Company must pay wages to 26 employees who were laid off without proper notice

Two significant wildfires burning in southeastern B.C.

More than 20 fires were burning in the Southeast Fire Centre as of Saturday afternoon

Volunteers provide the glue that keeps BC Games moving

The 2018 Cowichan Summer Games had more than 2,300 volunteers on hand across Vancouver Island

No Name brand chicken nuggets recalled due to possible salmonella

Canadian Food Inspection Agency says multiple illnesses reported in B.C., Alberta and Ontario

Lodeiro scores twice to help Sounders beat Whitecaps 2-0

Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he converted a penalty kick

Most Read