Despite having both legs amputated below the knee, and suffering unbearable pain for the past two months, beautiful, blue-eyed Ryan can still muster a smile.
The incredibly brave one-year-old from Broken Hill in NSW has fought a battle that almost claimed his life. And it all started with a simple runny nose, eight weeks ago.
It was eventually followed with a high fever, before Ryan became lethargic and limp and developed a rash. His mum Jessica Carnie knew something was terribly wrong.
On 8 December, 2022, Ryan was rushed to hospital, and the 13-month-old went into severe septic shock from Strep A. A common, usually mild infection that appears to be on the rise.
He was flown to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide where he has proved to be a fighter, coming back from the brink of death.
“For a whole month everyday I remember being told, ‘I’m really sorry he didn’t make it, he went into cardiac arrest and they are doing CPR,’ the mum-of-two explained on Instagram.
“A whole month of running out and seeing CPR done on my baby screaming and begging for them not to stop, this lasted 10 minutes and then I heard the words, ‘We got him back’.
“Ryan has come such long way … many doctors still amazed that he survived. I still can’t believe a simple Strep A infection had turned into serve septic shock syndrome.”
Just a few days ago, Ryan underwent surgery to remove both legs from below the knee, and operate on his fingers.
“Our little boy is such a miracle but the reality is that Ryan was very, very sick. After he cardiac arrested we were told that we could be looking at worst case, where Ryan would have severe brain damage, lose parts of his face and his full legs and hands. Thankfully that’s not the case.
“When you go into severe septic shock so many things happen to your body that I didn’t know could happen,” Jessica explained.
“Ryan also developed MOD and DIC (multiple organ dysfunction/failure and Disseminated intravascular coagulation), where small blood clots can develop throughout your bloodstream, blocking the blood flow to many parts of your body, including your limbs and your organs)
“Thankfully at this stage most of Ryan’s organs have repaired themselves, he struggled with a collapsed lung and also had to have dialysis treatment a few times to help his kidneys, many doctors are amazed at how good his heart is
“Unfortunately though as a result of everything our baby boy will be having a few surgeries to hopefully give him the best outcome as possible
“We don’t know what the future looks like but we are trying to focus on the positives and we do know we will do whatever we can to give Ryan the best life possible.”
Friends and family have set up a GoFundMe campaign to help cover the costs of Ryan’s ongoing care, raising more than $100,000 in less than a week.
The overwhelming support hasn’t been lost on Jessica.
“We have cried many tears for Ryan, but also many tears on all the love and support we are receiving we can’t believe it, we will and can’t wait till we can thank each and every one of you. Always always trust your gut, if you feel something isn’t right keep pushing.”
What Is Step A?
Ryan’s story is being used by his mum and health educators to raise awareness of Group A Streptococcus. According to Health Direct, Group A streptococcus is a bacteria often found in the throat and on the skin. It can cause strep throat, scarlet fever, impetigo, cellulitis and some severe conditions.
It spreads easily through droplets when coughing, sneezing or kissing and through direct skin contact. One of the best ways of preventing its spread is by practicing good hygiene.
Tiny Hearts Education explains that it’s an infection that can quickly turn in to septic shock.
One of the first indicators is a high temperature, as well as these signs:
- fever > 38 in a newborn
- difficulty breathing
- lethargic / difficult to wake
- drowsy or unconscious
- severe dehydration
- bulging fontanelle
- neck stiffness, photosensitivity
- pale, blotchy or blue skin
- floppy or irritable
- high pitched continuous crying
- unresolved moderate/severe pain
- non-blanching rash
“A fever with associated red flags should set off alarm bells in your head,” explained Tiny Hearts Education. “Look at the number on your thermometer and then assess your child for any critical signs present. Being educated about red flags is essential for every parent. The earlier you can identify the signs, the better chance you give your child.”
Why Is There An Increase In Step A Cases?
It’s thought that due to lockdowns people weren’t being exposed to the usual infections, including strep A, which may have reduced our immunity to low-grade infections. Or an increase in respiratory illnesses may also have been a trigger.
We wish Ryan the best in his recovery journey, and hope his story will help save the lives of other children.We may get commissions for purchases made using links in this post. Learn more.