An 18-month-old girl died Monday night after apparently choking to death in Center.San Augustine County Justice of the Peace Adris Mosby pronounced Edith Gonzales dead at a San Augustine hospital.CenterMore >>
An 18-month-old girl died Monday night after apparently choking to death in Center.More >>
CENTER, TX (KSLA) -
A family is speaking out about what went wrong in the death of their 18 month old. There was no hospital near and no ambulances available. Now they want the city to do something so this doesn't happen to another family. Authorities say an 18 month old girl, Edith Gonzales, died after choking. She had to be transported from Center, Texas to the nearest hospital in San Augustine. That's because Shelby County's hospital closed last month. That's about a thirty minute drive. The aunt and cousin say if there was a closer hospital, their toddler may still be alive today. "She was like a little angle and well now she is an angle with god" Victor Contreras, the toddler's cousin, says.
"It's like a nightmare. Sometimes you think it's okay and it is now after the funeral and everything but you just sometimes have to catch your breath and think this is reality, this happened. It's hard, it's hard to stay strong when someone so important passed away because of the circumstances here" Victor says. The family thinks that if those circumstances were different, 18 month old, Edith may still be alive. Once Edith started choking, her parents drove her to the hospital, which was closed. Then they called an ambulance, which took too long to come. The family drove the choking toddler to a CVS in desperate search for help. "The grandfather pulled in and he was absolutely frantic so I knew something was wrong" Charles Bush, at CVS, says. Edith's mother doesn't speak English, so she called her sister Beatriz. "When I got to the CVS and I saw her, she was screaming for help. She was like, you have to tell them that they need to do something" Beatriz Contreras, Edith's aunt, says.
"She was bleeding from her mouth and choking. We found out later that it was a grape" Bush says. The closest hospital is in San Augustine, more than 20 miles away. There are only 3 ambulances in the area. The night Edith died, all 3 ambulances were out on other calls. It took them 25 minutes to respond to little Edith and then they had a 25 minute drive to the hospital in San Augustine. It took too long to save her life. "It was just so hard and I was there when the doctor told us that she passed away. I had to you know, when the nurse can to tell us what happened, I had to tell her that she was not responding, she was begging me for help" Beatriz says.
City officials say it is a tragic situation that they are trying to change. The only options for people in the area are Hope clinic in Tenaha that is now staying open until 10 PM, or one of the hospitals, miles away. The hospitals in the area are: 157 Wall Street in Tenaha, 511 Hospital St. in San Augustine, 4920 NE Stallings Dr., in Nacogdoches, 2901 N 4th Street in Longview.