British Columbia

Family doctor tells B.C. inquest teens have right to privacy about their health

16-year-old Elliot Eurchuk's family doctor tells B.C. Coroner's inquest teens should have right to keep their health information and issues private. Eurchuk denied drug use to his parents who found him unresponsive in his bedroom. Coroner said the teen died from a drug overdose.

Elliot Eurchuk's parents say privacy laws hamstrung their efforts to save their son

16-year-old Elliot Eurchuk was found unresponsive in his bedroom last year in Oak Bay, a community in Greater Victoria, B.C. A coroner's jury has heard he died of a drug overdose. His parents say his drug use started after he was prescribed opioids for four surgical procedures in one year. (The Canadian Press/Rachel Staples)

The Victoria family doctor who delivered Elliot Eurchuk as a baby and saw him as a patient until 18 months before his death told a British Columbia's coroner's inquest that teens have the right to privacy about their medical issues.

Dr. Marjorie Van der Linden testified Thursday that she spoke with Eurchuk about the risks of overdose associated with using street drugs, but he defiantly denied using drugs.

The 16-year-old was found unresponsive in his Oak Bay bedroom on April 20, 2018, and the coroner's jury has heard he died of a drug overdose.

Van der Linden told the five jurors that she encourages teenage patients to discuss health issues with their parents, but some are not comfortable discussing matters like birth control or abortion.

Eurchuk's parents have said they were restricted from helping their son with his addiction issues because privacy laws prevented the sharing of medical information.

Dr. David Harrison testified he became Eurchuk's family doctor in July 2017 and found it unusual that the teen asked for a prescription for the opioid Percocet on his first visit to help ease pain from recent shoulder surgery.


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