Brock Eurchuk and Rachel Staples, whose son Elliot Eurchuk died from an accidental overdose April 20 in his Oak Bay home, call for changes to the laws governing youth health care. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Brock Eurchuk and Rachel Staples, whose son Elliot Eurchuk died from an accidental overdose April 20 in his Oak Bay home, call for changes to the laws governing youth health care. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

B.C. dad pens letter urging overhaul of youth health laws after son’s fatal overdose

The Infants Act currently states children under 19 years old may consent to medical treatment on own

One month after their teen son died of an accidental overdose, a pair of Vancouver Island parents are still waiting for answers to how the province plans to avoid such a death from happening again.

In an open letter sent Tuesday to Premier Horgan and Health Minister Adrian Dix, Brock Eurchuk calls on the province to immediately amend the Health Care Act to enable primary caregivers access to their youth’s medical records, test results and treatment plans.

“A legislative mechanism and health care policy that enables at risk youth to block their critical health care information from their parents will continue to result in tragic, preventable adolescent deaths,” writes Eurchuk.

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

This repeated call comes after his son Elliot, 16, died at his Oak Bay home April 20 after battling drug dependency due to extensive surgeries. Elliot was prescribed opioids for four major surgeries in 2017, including two for a fractured jaw and two shoulder reconstructions, his parents said.

When Elliot’s prescriptions of the highly addictive opioids ran out, he turned to street drugs for relief. He tried to hide the addiction from his parents, and was successful for awhile as he was shielded by the law.

The Infants Act currently 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.

WATCH: Vancouver Island parents speak out after son dies of overdose.

“That kind of policy basically knocks parents to their knees in their efforts to help their children. In our son’s case it ultimately led to his death because we had no control over his medical direction,” said Elliot’s mom, Rachel Staples.

In response to Elliot’s family speaking out for change in the days following his death, Dix told Black Press Media on April 22, that time was needed for an investigation into the matter.

“I admire their courage in speaking out and expressing their frustrations but I think we have to take time to allow the evidence to come forward and be assessed independently,” he said at the time.

In his letter, Eurchuk references Dix’s statements and asks “how many kids need to die while Adrian Dix and his government maintain their position?”

“With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear to me, had my wife and I had continuous, timely access to Elliots medical records his death would likely not have occurred,” writes Eurchuk. “It is also clear to me – until this legislation is amended – additional, preventable youth deaths will occur.”

At the time of publishing, Eurchuk has not yet received a reply.

The Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, created in 2017 to help address the opioid crisis, confirmed today that BC Coroners Service and Island Health are continuing to investigate Elliot’s death.

READ MORE: Moms Stop The Harm respond to opioid crisis

Leslie McBain, a mother who also lost her son to an opioid overdose, has called for the same policy changes. She helped to roll out a document called Close to Home, advocating for, among other things, families to be included in treatment.

“We believe most families and most parents are the best toolbox for the health care provider. Who knows the child better than their parents?” said McBain.


 

keri.coles@oakbaynews.com

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

The Port of Prince Rupert has experienced another year of increased cargo volumes, shipped through the city, with more than $50 billion in international trade facilitated through the area, the Port Authority announced on Jan. 18. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Port cargo volume growth continues despite pandemic obstacles

Prince Rupert Port authority announces $50 billion in international trade

The IIO B.C. is seeking witnesses to an arrest made in Penticton on Nov. 8, during which the male resisted and sustained a head injury. (File Photo)
The Independent InvestigationsOffice of B.C. released a report on Jan. 18 that a Prince Rupert RCMP officer is cleared of any serious harm wrongdoing from a May 29, 2020 incident. (File Photo)
Police watchdog investigation clears Prince Rupert police officer

IIO investigated May 29 incident where woman fell 25 metres in Prince Rupert

Face masks are required to be worn in all SD 52 common areas such as hallways. School District 52 announced on Jan. 15 three different schools in Prince Rupert all had a member of the school community test positive for COVID-19. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
3 Prince Rupert schools have positive COVID-19 case(s)

Letters sent home to families in three Prince Rupert schools announcing COVID-19

Power outages affected thousands of BC Hydro customers in the north on Jan. 14 (File photo) (File photo)
Power outages affect thousands of BC Hydro customers in northern B.C.

Transmission failure led to outages in Prince Rupert and Port Edward

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

The IIO B.C. is seeking witnesses to an arrest made in Penticton on Nov. 8, during which the male resisted and sustained a head injury. (File Photo)
The Independent InvestigationsOffice of B.C. released a report on Jan. 18 that a Prince Rupert RCMP officer is cleared of any serious harm wrongdoing from a May 29, 2020 incident. (File Photo)
Police watchdog investigation clears Prince Rupert police officer

IIO investigated May 29 incident where woman fell 25 metres in Prince Rupert

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Most Read