Handled properly, asthma is a bother that does not have to put a constant threat on your life. That is why the pointless death of Ryan Gibbons could have been easily avoided.
Just like any other boy his age, Ryan was full of energy, and he had a lot of fun riding motorbikes and hiking. But a tragic mistake by his school would put this promising life to an end.
When Ryan got to school on October 9, he did not know it was the last day of his life.
Being the active boy that he was, he was playing soccer when an asthma attack struck. But there was one problem – his inhaler had been taken from him and locked in the principal’s office.
His airways were blocked, and all he needed was a hit off his inhaler and he would be fine.
But the school’s policy of locking inhalers inside the principal’s office had reached a dangerous end. Several inhalers had been confiscated from Ryan.
His friends did their best to get him to the principal’s office in order to get his inhaler, but that did not work out, and the 7th grader at Elgin Country School in Ontario died.
The incident shook the nation.
Later it was apparent that even with efforts from his mother and a doctor, the school was unwilling to allow the boy to keep his inhaler.
He got by through having an extra inhaler, and every time he was caught with one, it would be taken from him.
There is no sure way of knowing when an asthma attack will happen, but when it does, it is always good to be ready as things can escalate pretty fast.
The policy of not allowing the kids to have their inhalers with them was very frustrating to Ryan’s mother, Sandra Gibbons, who would get a call every time the school took away his inhaler.
After the incident, she has become an avid advocate in favor of schools having clear asthma management plans.
What hurts the boy’s mother the most was the knowledge that the fatality could have been easily avoided. She described the compared the death to losing everything she lived for.
In an interview, she explained that she believed that with proper training, people would know how to handle children in distress. Under these circumstances, her child would still be alive today.
For now, Sandra hopes that laws will change to allow children like Ryan to carry around their inhalers in case they need them as this can save their lives.
In fact, the bill that she helped form has made significant progress, and it has passed into legislature after getting all-party support.
Once this law is implemented, schools will be forced to allow children to have inhalers in their pockets and backpacks with a doctor’s note.
The Asthma Society was ecstatic about the new bill, and so was Sandra, Ryan’s mother.
Although the bill was not put in place in time to save her son, she knows that it will help prevent other school children from losing their lives from asthma attacks.
Although schools allow students to carry inhalers, some have denied them access to these devices under their anti-drug policies.
But that is a big problem considering that 10 Americans die every day from asthma. These deaths are easily avoidable.