Meet Ryan

Originally published in the Herald Sun, 21 March 2021
Words: Brigid O’Connell
Photo: David Caird

The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) is the statewide burns centre for kids and their incredible work is changing the lives of little burns victims like Ryan Haidari.

In the blink of an eye the damage was done.

Ryan Haidari had not long found his feet. All arms and legs, the 14-month-old tore around the garage as his mum Sohaillah finishing cooking.

She placed the pot of vegetable and bean stew, that they would take to park for dinner, on the shelf.

In the instant she turned her back to reach for the seasoning, the curious toddler had pulled the hot pot on top of him.

It caused third degree burns across Ryan’s face, chest and arms.

He was taken to his nearest hospital, but dad Ali said because of the burns on his son’s neck that were affecting his breathing, Ryan was transferred to intensive care at the RCH. The RCH is the statewide burns centre for children.

“It was very bad,” Mr Haidari said. “For seven days he didn’t open his eyes. He was just crying.

“The doctor said it’s a long process but he’s going better and better and better.”

Director of RCH Trauma Service and Ryan’s surgeon, Warwick Teague said this story gave other families the chance to look for ways to reduce their own risk.

“We always offer understanding to parents in this situation because it is hard. But kitchens are dangerous unless we actively seek out ways to make them less dangerous,” said Associate Professor Teague.

“In the kitchen that means not holding children and hot pans. When we’re cooking with hot water or food, that we always use the back of the stove. That we don’t move that pot or kettle unless we know exactly where the children are.

“We can’t wind back the clock, but we can make safer decisions for another time.”

After almost a month in hospital following skin grafts, Ryan went home.

He will need to return each week to the RCH Burns Clinic to have his dressings changed for the foreseeable future.

“For the RCH, from 1 to 10, I give them 10. They’ve been good to us,” said Mr Haidari.

“My advice to other families is to always, 24/7, you have to stay with the kids. In a few seconds everything has changed. Now I want him to have a good life, a better life, to be a healthy boy.”​