The two words a Queensland mum says saved her sick daughter’s life.


Ryan’s Rule may have just saved the life of a Queensland girl. Mum Ayla Gyde has told her daughter’s story in a Facebook post and asked people to share it around – which they have, more than 11,000 times.

Ryan’s Rule is named after a young boy, Ryan Saunders, who died in a Queensland hospital in 2007. It allows parents to get their child’s care reviewed, if they think their concerns aren’t being listened to by hospital staff.

Last Sunday, Gyde posted a photo of her daughter, lying in a hospital bed.

“My little girl was admitted to hospital with suspected appendicitis,” she wrote in the Facebook post. “After speaking to the first surgical doctor, he explained this was likely the problem. However, he wanted a paediatrician to check her lingering cough to rule out possible mesenteric adenitis (which is swollen lymph glands in the tummy).”

Gyde says the doctor spoke to her at 5.30pm on Thursday. By 7am Friday, she was told that an ultrasound would be done that day.

“However, as I watched my little girl deteriorate before my eyes and frustrated nurses pacing the corridors trying to find out what was happening, like when the ultrasound would be completed , what pain management or fluid levels they needed and when or if she could stop fasting… I had finally had enough, and at 12pm, I said, ‘I’m calling RYAN’S RULE NOW.’”

Within 10 minutes, Gyde says, she was speaking to a different surgical doctor about her daughter.


“By 45 minutes she was getting an ultrasound done, and by two hours after calling Ryan’s Rule, they were prepping my daughter for an emergency removal of her appendix, as it had perforated.

“Turns out ultrasound hadn’t been ordered that morning so we were waiting for nothing.”

The post has already had more than 1000 comments. Some parents have said they’ve had to use Ryan’s Rule themselves. Others have said they didn’t know it existed, or have asked if it can be used outside Queensland. Ryan’s Rule applies within Queensland only, but there is a similar system called REACH in NSW and CARE in the ACT.

ryans rule
Ryan Saunders was nearly three years old when he tragically passed away in 2007. Image: Facebook and Getty.

Ryan Saunders was two years old when he died in Rockhampton Base Hospital.  His mum, Donna, had taken him to the GP in their home town of Emerald when he had swollen glands. He was admitted to Emerald Hospital, then transferred to Rockhampton. His bacterial infection was not diagnosed and he died from toxic shock.

“His death was found to be in all likelihood preventable,” says a brochure about Ryan’s Rule. “Staff did not know Ryan as well as his mum and dad knew him. When Ryan’s parents were worried he was getting worse, they didn’t feel their concerns were acted on in time.”

Ryan’s Rule is for patients of any ages, their families and carers, and can be used when a patient seems to be getting worse. There are three steps:

(1) speak with a doctor or nurse

(2) ask to speak with the nurse in charge of the shift or the doctor on duty

(3) request a Ryan’s Rule clinical review by phoning 13 43 25 84 (13 HEALTH).

Gyde says that so many people don’t know about Ryan’s Rule.

“Educate yourself,” she urges in her post. “Let everyone know they have rights if they don’t think they are getting the appropriate treatment.

“Ryan’s Rule is a lifesaver.”