A 12-year-old Canadian boy died from an asthma attack during recess at school.
Ryan Gibbons from Ontario could have simply used his inhaler at the beginning of the episode, but the school authorities had taken the lifesaving device and kept it locked in the administrative office.
A group of Ryan’s friends carried him to the office during the major asthma attack. The students couldn’t get to the inhaler in time.
Ryan passed out and was never revived.
This tragedy occurred on Oct. 9, 2012, at the Elgin Country School in Ontario, Canada. When the 12-year-old was busy playing soccer with his friends, he suddenly suffered an asthma attack and was unable to breathe or walk. The boy told his friends and they immediately took action.
“So as he was going to the office to get his inhaler, he kind of was having a hard time and had to be carried into the office, and by the time he got there he had blacked out,” said Sarah Gibbons, Ryan’s bereft mother, to CBC News.
According to the mother, his spare inhalers were repeatedly confiscated by school authorities. The policy of the school did not allow children to keep the inhalers with them. It was supposed to kept lock in the principal’s office.
“I received many phone call stating Ryan had taken an inhaler to school and they found it in his bag and would like me to come to pick it up because he wasn’t even allowed to bring it home with him,” the mother told the station. “There’s supposed to be one in the office and that’s the only one he can have. I didn’t understand why.”
Sarah who lost her child did not want any other children to go through the same fate as her child. She began a petition demanding the Ontario government implement a standardized asthma management plan that trained the staff to recognize asthma symptoms. It also asked the government to give asthmatic children permission to carry their lifesaving devices with parental approval. Eventually, the new law known as Ryan’s Law came into effect.
In the United States, all 50 states have passed laws allowing children to carry inhalers.