He was a very active little boy that loved to go hiking and ride motorbikes but sadly a mistake would take his life too soon. In 2012, he was at school just like any other day but this day was different. While he was there, he had an asthma attack. If he had only had his inhaler, he could have used it at onset of the attack but his inhaler had been taken away from him.
According to a special done by The Lung Association – Ontario, Ryan was playing soccer and wasn’t able to get to his rescue inhaler as it was locked inside the office in the school. This is a device that he needs with him because when an attack occurs it opens his airways and allows him to be able to breathe again.
Unfortunately, the school had a policy that inhalers had to be locked inside principal’s office. His spare inhalers had even been taken away. Some of Ryan’s friends tried to bring Ryan to the office while the attack was occurring but they just couldn’t get to the inhaler in time.
Ryan passed out and never woke up again.
This event took place at the Elgin Country School located in Ontario, Canada. An investigation was done that showed that in spite of multiple attempts, Ryan was not allowed to keep his inhaler on him. This was even with a note from Ryan’s doctor.
Sandra Gibbons, Ryan’s mom, would even go as far as to send an extra inhaler with Ryan and just bypass the rule. She talks about how attacks aren’t predictable and it’s extremely dangerous to keep them locked away from someone who uses them.
She recalls that the school called her many times asking her to come to pick up an inhaler that Ryan had brought to school as they wouldn’t allow him to even take it home.
She would send it with them that morning at school, and they would “catch” him with it and take it away. Then she would receive a phone call regarding her coming to pick it up. She didn’t understand until she read the policy that read prescription medication had to be held in the office.
Since Ryan’s death, his mom has decided to do whatever it takes to prevent this from happening to another family. According to CBC, The Asthma Society backs her efforts and the president, Dr. Rob Oliphant, feels that it is vital for every child that has asthma to have ready access to their inhalers while at school.
In the states, at the time of Ryan’s death, there were already laws that allowed students to carry their inhalers on hand, but many kids were still being denied as the inhalers were still being labeled as a prescription medication and they were forced to leave it in the office.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 10 Americans die every day due to complications from asthma. Though death rates have declined, they aren’t absent and deaths are potentially preventable.
Since the story had been published in 2012, a new law has been passed: Ryan’s Law now requires all school boards in the province of Ontario to develop and maintain asthma policies that help protect students with asthma. With permission from a parent or guardian, students are now allowed to carry their emergency inhalers in school.
You can watch Ryan’s story in the video below:
Do you have asthma yourself or know anyone suffering from the disease? Be sure to show this story to your loved ones so others can be educated in the importance of inhalers carried on the body for those with asthma.
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This content was originally published here.