Ryan’s Rule

Steps for activating Ryan's Rule

Ryan’s Rule| The Rule That Could Save Your Child’s Life

Despite being launched in 2013, many of us have still not heard of Ryan’s Rule — a rule that can literally save the life of a child or any loved one.

Here at Brisbane Kids, we have the utmost respect and appreciation for the work carried out by healthcare professionals, for their dedication and hard work, for their care and attention and for their ongoing efforts that go above and beyond to care for the sick and to save lives every day. They are absolute heroes and we cannot praise or thank them enough. Ryan’s Rule still goes hand in hand with respect for healthcare professionals.

Yet sometimes, simply through knowing our own children or loved ones better than anyone else, our gut instincts may go against medical diagnoses. We may feel that they have been misdiagnosed, that they have something worse than what we are told, that their condition is not being investigated to the fullest or that our concerns are not being taken seriously. In these cases, we now have the right to invoke Ryan’s Rule.

What is Ryan’s Rule?

Ryan’s Rule is a rule for all patients, families and carers including children. It is a rule that can be used to get help for a patient in the hospital when you are concerned that they are getting worse, not doing as well as expected or not improving.

Ryan’s Rule is for making sure your concerns are addressed and your loved one gets the medical attention that they need. Click here for more information on Ryan’s Rule.

[Please not that this is not a service for making complaints. If you wish to make a complaint, you should contact hospital staff or read here for more information.]

How did Ryan’s Rule develop?

Sadly, this amazing resource was born out of the tragic death of a beautiful toddler. In 2007, two-year-old Ryan Saunders developed swollen glands. He was initially misdiagnosed with mumps and later taken to the hospital, where they were unable to uncover the correct diagnosis. Despite his parents’ pleas for action and stronger pain relief, 30 hours after being admitted, Ryan died of toxic shock from a bacterial infection that could have been detected and treated.

Ryan's Rule

This unthinkable tragedy is all the more heartbreaking because it could have been preventable. Now Ryan’s memory is being honoured by helping to save lives by providing patients, families and carers with another way to get help for themselves or their loved ones of any age.

How can I invoke Ryan’s Rule?

Now, anyone in Queensland can invoke Ryan’s Rule by calling 13Health (13 43 25 84). If you think you may need to invoke Ryan’s Rule, simply follow these steps:

Steps for invoking Ryan's Rule

Step 1 > You are in the emergency or maybe in a short stay ward and you have been told xy or z but something tells you they are wrong. They reassure you but your parent instincts tell you that it is something more serious. You know your child and this is not their “normal”.

Step 2> Ask to speak to the nurse in charge. Tell him/her, you understand what is being told. You understand, but you need a second opinion. You just feel like the diagnosis is incorrect.

Step 3> Phone 13 Health. Or ask the nurse and they will do it for you. Tell the nurse you are ringing for a Ryan’s Rule Clinic Review.

Sadly, we cannot save little Ryan Saunders, but his legacy can help to save the lives of many others. Our thoughts are with his family, may he rest in peace.

For more information on Ryan’s Rule, please visit Queensland Health at health.qld.gov.au/cairns_hinterland/html/ryan-home.asp.

About the Author
Stirling
Ngaire Stirling
Owner and Founder of Brisbane Kids, Ngaire grew up in Brisbane and lives with her husband, 3 kids and too many animals. She has marketing and teaching qualifications focused on the early year of schooling. She loves long summer days, bright starry nights and working on Brisbane Kids.

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2 responses to “Ryan’s Rule”

  1. Mitch Gallina says:

    Please consider amending the section as follows: “Step 2> Ask to speak to the nurse in charge. Tell her, you understand what is being told.”

    As a male nurse I find this to be a biased and sexist assumption.

  2. Jay says:

    I just invoked it, but it was only by accident I discovered it existed at all. It is very powerful and worked wonders in suddenly being able to see ‘unavailable’ doctors.

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