LYNWOOD (CBSLA) — A Lynwood family is grieving the loss of their 11-year-old.
Ashley Flores was an inspiration to her family — a family filled with girls.
KCAL9’s Randy Paige said the family of girls loved to laugh together.
Ashley remains an inspiration to the family but the laughs are harder to come by.
From the time she was a baby, Ashley struggled with chronic asthma.
“She was a great person,” says her older sister Dulce.
“She would say I don’t want to die, I wish asthma was gone,” says sister Sarai.
Her family said she always found a way to shine. Even from her hospital bed.
“You would always see Ashley with a smile,” says sister Jessica, “she has a love for everyone.”
She also loved her little dog, Luna.
“She took that dog everywhere,” says her aunt Norma Acuna, “she’d go riding, she’d have it in her backpack. She loved that dog.”
RELATED LINK: GoFundMe Account Set Up For Ashley’s Family
Ashley, her youngest sister Camilla and Luna were inseparable
But Christmas Eve, everything changed.
Ashley couldn’t breathe, and she’s extremely asthmatic.
Her aunt Norma can be heard pleading for an ambulance. She said the family made as many as five calls to get an ambulance to show up.
Ashley’s 16-year-old sister, Dulce, said she was put on hold. She said she called a second and then a third time. Her aunt Maggie says she arrived at the house about 15 minutes after Ashley stopped breathing. She said that’s when she also called 911.
“I saw her just laying there, her lips were purple, her feet were purple. My neighbor was giving her CPR,” said Maggie. “I think I was the fourth call.”
Norma finally got through and reached a country fire dispatcher, but it was too late.
When you call 911 for an ambulance, the first dispatcher is law enforcement. They ask if you have a police or medical emergency. You are then transferred to a fire department dispatcher who knows where the closest ambulance is.
“I called once. That should have been enough,” said Dulce.
LA County Fire said that in Ashley’s case, the calls were transferred to a phone in a nearby station but the paramedics were out on another call. The fire house was empty so there was no one to answer the phone.
Daved Van Stralen is a pediatrician, former LA City paramedic ad former medical director of the Riverside County EMS system. He says was happened to Ashley is more than a mistake by a sheriff’s department emergency dispatcher. He says it’s also about training and supervision.
“What made that dispatcher think that calling a local fire station is the right thing? It can’t have happened out of the clear blue,” Van Stralen says.
“It was a terrible mistake. The doctor said it would be 10 minutes earlier, we would have had Ashley here with us so, its hard,” says Ashley’s sister Jessica.
She says her youngest sister, Camilla, is taking it the hardest — she witnessed the final moments of Ashley’s life.
“She said I lost my sister but I also lost my best friend, ’cause they were always together ’cause it always been like that — my dad, Camilla and Ashley,” Jessica said.
A few days before she died, Ashley gave her father his Christmas present — a hand-sculpted, white, plaster heart.
Camilla and her dad take Ashley’s dog to her grave site.
“Every weekend, every weekend, this is the promise I told my daughter,” her father says.
The family cannot afford a headstone so, for now, they mark Ashley’s grave with a fresh bouquet of flowers.
“What I want people to know about my sister, that she was full of life, no matter what, even if she was at the hospital she was sick or she was always happy, she always had a smile on her face and she had a love for everyone, everyone, that was Ashley, a happy little girl,” says Jessica.