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Parents kept from knowing teen’s health records: coroner holding public inquest

Setting up parents as the ‘responsible enemy’ begs for resolution in a just society

Sunday, March 31, 2019 ~ VICTORIA.

by Mary P Brooke ~ West Shore Voice News

The BC Coroners Service has scheduled a public inquest into the death of Elliot Cleveland Eurchuk, beginning June 17, 2019 at 9:30 am at the University of Victoria (Dispute Resolution Room, Fraser Building).

Eurchuk, 16, died on April 20, 2018 after being found unresponsive on his bed at his family’s home in Oak Bay. He had become addicted to prescription painkillers, but his parents didn’t know and say they would have acted in their son’s interest had they known.

Under BC’s Infants Act, persons age 16 to 18 are treated as adults for health care (under the Mature Minor Consent section). Parents not knowing about their teen’s health situations can lead to disastrous consequences. Meanwhile, parents are still responsible for their children up to age 19.

Situations governed by the Infants Act include where a teen seeks or is given medical care for any range of conditions – including mental health counselling and treatment, and reproductive management – but where the parent is not required to be informed.

This conflict of setting up the parents as the ‘responsible enemy’ begs for resolution in a just society. Informing the parents or waiving the parents’ responsibility are two possible options.

UVic, law, fraser building
Fraser Building at the University of Victoria campus.

The June inquest has been called to review the circumstances of Eurchuk’s death and to explore 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.

A jury must not make any finding of legal responsibility or express any conclusion of law. The BC Coroners Service gathers facts surrounding why a death took place, without fault-finding. It provides an independent service to the family, community, government agencies and other organizations.

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This article was first published on page 2 in the March 29, 2019 print-PDF weekend digest of West Shore Voice News.