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Posts Tagged "suicide"

17Jul

572 British Columbians died by suicide in 2017, including 22 youth

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The BC Coroner has released its updated suicide report from 2007 to 2017. The report shows 572 people took their own life in 2017. Of those 22 were under 19.


The B.C. Coroners Service has released its updated report on suicides in the province between 2007 and 2017.

The report shows that 572 British Columbians took their own life in 2017, down slightly from 603 in 2016, 615 in 2015, and 644 in 2014.

Most were men and more than half were aged 30 to 59. Twenty-two youths under 19 years old died by suicide in 2017, up from 20 the year previous.

The coroner report shows the highest age-specific suicide death rate was among 40 to 49 year olds in 2017, and the three most common means of suicide were by hanging, followed by poisoning, firearms and falls. The number of SkyTrain suicides went up to four from three in 2016, while railway suicides in 2017 fell to four from six the year before. The number of CO poisonings also fell to 13 from 20 the year before, while the cause of 42 suicides was still under investigation.

The Fraser and Interior Health Authority had the highest number of suicides in 2017, with 157 and 130 deaths, respectively. The Northern Health Authority had the highest rate of suicide deaths at 18 deaths per 100,000 individuals.

Overall, the rate of suicide deaths in B.C. was 12 deaths per 100,000 individuals.

Suicide rates are highest in Northeast, Kootenay Boundary, Thompson Cariboo, East Kootenay, and Northern Interior Health Services Delivery Areas, according to the report.

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6Jun

Vaughn Palmer: ‘Illogical’ suicide pact allegation lies behind B.C. legislature resignations

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VICTORIA — On the final day of the spring legislature session, Premier John Horgan paid tribute to Randy Ennis, who was retiring early from the upper echelons of the security staff.

It’s standard procedure for the premier to thank a departing public servant. Ennis had long served as deputy sergeant-at-arms and lately as acting sergeant-at-arms, with Gary Lenz placed on suspension.

But for Horgan, this one was personal because Ennis was a friend.

“Randy and I first met at the hockey rink over a cup of Tim Horton’s,” the premier told the house. “Our boys played hockey together, so we spent a lot of time complaining about the Canucks. We spent a lot of time talking about how we could make the world a better place.

“Randy is an outstanding individual,” Horgan continued. “I’m going to miss him terribly.”

There followed a display of applause from all sides of the house, albeit tinged with regret among those in the know.

Horgan claimed not to know why Ennis, who just turned 59, was leaving early.  But around the legislature, it was an open secret that Ennis was fed up with the regime of Speaker Darryl Plecas and his chief of staff, Alan Mullen.

Ennis had good reason to be incensed. Plecas had accused him of being party to a suicide pact involving an ailing member of the security staff.

The alleged suicide pact was one of 11 Plecas-authored allegations of misconduct that were examined and rejected by retired chief justice Beverley McLachlin. (She upheld four accusations against clerk of the legislature Craig James, leading to his forced retirement.)

Plecas claimed to have uncovered a plan by sergeant-at-arms Lenz and deputy Ennis to create a sheltered posting for an unnamed constable on the security staff who had a degenerative health condition.

“The Speaker also alleges that they created a plan whereby (the staffer) would commit suicide while he was still on staff so that his beneficiaries would receive insurance proceeds,” wrote McLachlin.

The former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada examined the documentation associated with the alleged plan and further evidence from the accusers, Plecas and Mullen, and the accused, Lenz and Ennis.

She concluded that “clearly Mr. Lenz and Mr. Ennis were deeply concerned over the future of the constable and wanted to find a way to help him.”

But she did not fault them for considering ways to allow the constable to work at home were his condition to deteriorate to the point where he could not carry a firearm as required by his position.

“Discussion of creating a new position so an employee can work from home does not appear on its face to be unreasonable, provided the proposed work would contribute to the business of the legislative assembly,” wrote McLachlin. “The discussions, according to Mr. Lenz and Mr. Ennis, related to whether (the staffer) could continue to do useful work without being able to carry a firearm. I accept this evidence.”

Nor did she accept the Plecas-Mullen version of events regarding the supposed suicide pact.

“The ‘plan’ that the Speaker says was being hatched proposed that (the staffer) would commit suicide while he was still employed and before his condition had deteriorated too far, in order to preserve his life insurance,” wrote McLachlin.

Plecas thereby insinuated that the new job was “false” — concocted for the purpose of preserving the staffer’s employment status long enough for him to kill himself.

“No one was able to explain the logic of this to me. The evidence I received was that if he was forced to go on disability status, his life insurance would have remained in place as long as he qualified for that status,” wrote McLachlin.

She instead preferred “the straightforward explanation of the incident” from Lenz and Ennis.

“They denied any talk of suicide and explained that the discussions were aimed at finding reasonable accommodation for (the staffer) by finding alternate duties when he reached the point that he could no longer use a firearm.”

She speculated, and not in a flattering way, why Plecas had gone as far as he did.

“The Speaker was deeply distrustful of Mr. Lenz, which may explain how he transformed fragments of an exploratory proposal from Mr. Lenz and Mr. Ennis into a bizarre go-forward plan involving (the staffer) committing suicide.”

She then cleared Lenz of the allegation of misconduct. She also cleared him of all the other Plecas accusations against him.

Lenz remains on suspension, pending the outcome of a police investigation.

So, Ennis was collateral damage to one of the more reckless and unproven allegations from Plecas.

Rough treatment for someone who deserved much better. Before coming to work at the legislature, Ennis served as a member of the Canadian Airborne Regiment, seeing duty as a peacekeeper in Bosnia, Cyprus and Haiti, and earning the military Order of Merit.

The supposed target of the non-existent suicide pact was collateral damage as well. He retired from his post on the security staff at the same time as Ennis.

Not that Plecas could be bothered to express regret over the damage done to reputations. Instead he’s been citing the shortcomings in the McLachlin report in public and bad mouthing it privately.

As for the premier, he could deliver a more sincere tribute to his departed friend by recognizing where Plecas has gone too far and by attempting to curb his excesses.

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16Apr

Investigations continue after teen’s suicide in Lions Gate Hospital ER

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A boy died by suicide while in care at the emergency department in Lion’s Gate Hospital.


NICK PROCAYLO / PNG

Parallel investigations into the suicide last month of a teenager at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver are continuing by the B.C. Coroner’s Service and Vancouver Coastal Health.

The death happened in the emergency department.

Andy Watson, the spokesman for the coroners service, said all sudden, unexpected and/or unnatural deaths are investigated. A report will be written with the coroner’s findings and recommendations made to prevent future deaths by similar means.

An inquest may also be scheduled if a potentially dangerous practice or circumstance has been identified or if the death raises issues that are in the public interest and need more awareness. An inquest is conducted before a jury of five to seven individuals.

Vancouver Coastal Health is also doing a critical incident review, said spokeswoman Carrie Stefanson.

“The investigation is ongoing and we are restricted in comments we can make at this time. … The critical incident review will examine the circumstances surrounding the case and our processes in the care of this patient.”

The date of the suicide was March 23. According to an individual with knowledge of the event, a 17-year-old man on a “suicide watch” was alone in a dimly lit room when he used a piece of medical equipment in the room to asphyxiate himself. The hospital would not confirm the means by which the teen took his life.

Patients on suicide watch are generally monitored by guards or others and checked on frequently. It is believed there was someone sitting outside the room in which the teen was placed.

Watson said over 5,000 deaths each year are investigated by the coroner’s service. There are between 500 and 600 suicides annually in B.C., with 20 to 30 of them among individuals under the age of 19.

Meanwhile, the coroners service has announced a June 17 inquest into the death by drug overdose of another teenager, 16-year old Elliot Cleveland Eurchuk. Eurchuk died in April, 2018, after being found in an unresponsive state in his bed in his Oak Bay family’s home. His parents say that he became addicted to painkillers prescribed before and after surgery for athletic injuries. And then he became addicted to illicit drugs.

At one point, Eurchuk was discharged from the hospital even though he had overdosed in his hospital bed just days earlier. That inquest could last for two weeks as it will explore relevant issues around addictions and mental health, the education, health and justice systems.

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Twitter: @MedicineMatters




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10Dec

Suspect found dead days after aunt raised suicide concerns, inquest hears

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CTV Vancouver


Published Monday, December 10, 2018 12:27PM PST


Last Updated Monday, December 10, 2018 4:37PM PST

A coroner’s inquest began Monday into the death of David Singh Tucker, a sexual assault suspect whose body was discovered in a Surrey, B.C. pretrial facility two years ago.

Tucker, 28, was one of two men being held in custody following a disturbing attack at the University of British Columbia campus in May 2016, and was facing charges of sexual assault, unlawful confinement, robbery and disguising his face with the intent to commit a crime.

The suspect was being kept in a segregation unit when staff found him dead on July 25 of that year.

The inquest into his death began with testimony from his aunt, Susan Brennan, who read a statement from Tucker’s mother describing him as a troubled person who was diagnosed with behavioural disorders as a young boy.

Brennan told the jury her nephew had expressed a desire to turn his life around, and an interest in financial planning. She said he told her over the phone that he “was disgusted with himself” after his arrest.

“He felt like a monster,” she said.

Brennan also testified that Tucker shared plans to intentionally overdose on hoarded methadone while in custody, and she pleaded with officials at the Surrey Pretrial Services Centre to keep a close watch over him on July 20 – a few days before he was found dead.

According to the BC Coroners Service, Tucker was last seen alive when he was given his dinner around 4 p.m. on July 24. Officers found him unresponsive during a check the next morning.

One of the guards from the Surrey pretrial facility told the inquest Tucker was not on suicide watch at hte time, and that it was hard to see into his cell because the window on the door and the security camera lens were both scratched.

The jury also heard testimony from staff about how some inmates would pretend to drink their methadone by hiding gauze in their mouth to soak up the drug, which would then be sold to other inmates.

Tucker’s cause of death has never been publicly released. The inquest is expected to hear from a toxicologist and a pathologist on Tuesday.

The inquest will examine the facts surrounding Tucker’s death, but can’t make any finding of legal responsibility. The jury can make recommendations aimed at preventing similar deaths in the future.

With files from CTV Vancouver’s Nafeesa Karim  


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