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Family speaks out after death of 7-year-old son

The cause of Parker Ashford's death has not been confirmed.

Posted: Jan 23, 2020 12:19 PM
Updated: Jan 23, 2020 6:46 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- A family is speaking out after the death of their 7-year-old son this month.

The cause of Parker Ashford's death has not been confirmed.

HOW TO HELP

  • You can donate to the Parker Emerson Ashford Memorial Fund by clicking here.
  • The Oregon Community Credit Union is accepting donations at their locations for memorial and medical expenses.

In a statement, Jeff and Shauna Ashford wrote that their son Parker, who was a second-grader at Irving Elementary, fell ill Monday, Jan. 13. They said he had a minor fever and was experiencing aches.

Parker's father is warning other parents: "Beware, pay attention and don't dismiss the signs. Your kids do know how they feel and they can communicate, so listen."

The next day, Parker told his parents his heart hurt.

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"We were home with him 24/7 by the time he came home from school. He did go to the doctor 12 hours before he passed," Jeff said.

On the way to the doctor on Wednesday, Parker threw up. Jeff and Shauna said Parker told the doctor his chest hurt, but the doctor thought it was heartburn caused by vomiting.

Then, that Thursday morning, they said Parker got up to go the the bathroom and went to rest in the living room. He "gave out a cry and was still." Parker was transported to a hospital less than 10 minutes away but there was nothing that could be done to save him.

"We considered ourselves diligent and caring parents, and were wary of the annual flu virus," the family's statement said. "We had our flu shots and so did Parker. We took him to the doctor when it was clear he was not feeling well, but we trusted the doctor’s diagnosis and did not insist on a test to confirm what precisely he suffered from."

They said at least five other children from Irving Elementary have visited a doctor and been diagnosed with the flu or other flu-like symptoms.

One thing they said other parents have done is take their child to the doctor for a viral test to determine if they have influenza.

"We are not medical professionals, so we urge parents to consult medical professionals at the first sign of illness, and to insist on a viral test to see if your child is carrying an uncomfortable but harmless annual bug, or whether further evaluation is needed," they said.

It is not clear if Parker's death was preventable or if it was the result of a health issue he may have had, the parents said.

Below is the full letter:

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