Ryan Saunders.
Ryan Saunders.

Families hopes for closure brightened

ALMOST four years to the day Emerald toddler Ryan Saunders tragically died at Rockhampton Hospital, his grieving parents may get the answers they’ve been searching for.

A pre-inquest hearing in Brisbane on Tuesday set the date for a Rockhampton court at 9.30am on Monday, September 19.

A sequence of medical events culminated in the death of the 33-month-old in Rockhampton on September 26, 2007, and following more than three years of dignified campaigning by parents Terry and Donna Saunders, justice, peace of mind and closure was what the couple was seeking from the inquest.

“No child should die in that way,” Terry said earlier this year after it was announced the inquest would proceed.

An autopsy found Ryan died from undiagnosed Group A Streptococcal Infection Toxic Shock, which has a mortality rate of between 30% and 50% and is extremely rare in toddlers.

Ryan’s tragic death shocked and outraged the Emerald community who rallied outside the Town Hall, protesting the health system and demanding answers from Queensland Health.

Following admission to the Emerald hospital on September 24, 2007, Ryan was transferred to Rockhampton where the Saunders claimed he was not seen by another doctor for 12 hours.

“We couldn’t get anyone to do anything quickly enough,” Donna said.

“That was frustrating because no one wanted to take the parents’ concerns into account.”

The public support from the protest display spawned the Ryan Saunders Foundation.


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