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

BREAKING: Outbreak of COVID-19 at West Kelowna garden centre

The outbreak was identified among a group of temporary foreign workers

Memorial Cup concert with Brett Kissel canceled amid COVID-19 concerns

Brett Kissel was scheduled to perform at Live on Lake in Kelowna on May 30

City of West Kelowna to start blasting at Rose Valley Treatment Plant

Early site work at the new water treatment plant starts this week

Valleydrive 2020 moves online due to COVID-19

The fundraiser supports the Central Okanagan Food Bank

Kelowna cafe offers free drinks to hospital workers, first responders

Third Space Cafe is offering free drinks to people on the frontlines battling COVID-19

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, total cases top 1,000

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Two arrested after man lies about COVID-19 illness to stay in Victoria Airbnb for free

Victoria Police found stolen goods inside the occupied unit

Liberals delay release of 75% wage subsidy details, costs: Morneau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

LETTER: Thanks to those providing essential services

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen board chair recognizes efforts and dedication

Summerland Earth Week events affected by COVID-19

Individual focus rather than group activities during pandemic

No laws in B.C. to force businesses to offer refunds, even during a pandemic

Black Press Media talks to Consumer Protection BC on how to navigate during COVID-19

COVID-19 essential workers can apply for B.C. pre-school child care

Parent referral opens, providers offered emergency funding

Most Read