12-Year-Old Student Dies After School Confiscates His Medicine

Dec 2nd, 2019

To those who have asthma or have kids who have the illness, know too well that asthma attacks can be very difficult. The feeling of not being able to breath is unimaginable. This is why doctors advise patients with asthma to always have their inhalers with them, no matter where they go. Without it can mean life and death for the person.

Ryan Gibbons, a 12-year-old boy died from a severe asthma attack at school during recess time. He passed away on October 9, 2012. This took place at Elgin County School in Straffordville, Ontario, Canada.

He could have survived if the school did not take his asthma inhaler from him and locked it at the principal’s office. During the attack, he could have simply reached for his prescription inhaler because he would always carry it with him.

While Ryan was gasping for air, one of his friends picked him up and carried him to the office where his inhaler was. However, they were not able to get there in time. Ryan passed out even before they were at arm’s reach for his life-saving medicine.

Ryan never recovered…

Now, Ryan’s mom, Sarah Gibbons, is leading the campaign to get the schools to change this policy by law. Keeping the essentials like asthma inhaler from asthmatic children is just like taking their chance to survive. Sarah wanted the lawmakers to pass a bill that will be dubbed as ‘Ryan’s Law.

’ This would be in honor of her son’s memory. The law is to force the school to let their kids who have the doctor’s permission to carry their inhalers at school, whether in their pockets or inside their backpack.

According to the grieving mom, this is the reason why Ryan always carries a spare inhaler with him. She was afraid that he would not be able to get to the principal’s office on time. However, the school would always take it away from him.

She explained to the CBC, “I received many a 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 anti-inhaler policy is truly a bizarre rule for a school to have. This is why in the United States, all of the 50 states already passed laws that permit children to bring and carry inhalers with them, even inside the classroom. However, there are still some American schools who don’t allow this.

One expert states that schools are fearful that they would be questioned with regards to liability claims if the student incorrectly administers the medication. Or maybe the child would allow another student to share the inhaler.

Maureen George, a nursing professor at the University of Pennsylvania explains that she understands the concerns but allowing the child to exercise without having the access to his or her inhaler might just put the child’s life in danger. What if the nurse is not at school. She also states that the school can sometimes ban inhalers under the anti-drug policy too.

But she questions whether it is right to group the prescription medications with illicit drugs.

How about you? What are your thoughts regarding the anti-inhaler policy?