Man dies after 43 ICUs full of COVID patients turned him away

Man dies after 43 ICUs full of COVID patients turned him away

The family of an Alabama man who died of heart issues is urging people to get vaccinated after they say he was turned away from 43 hospitals in three different states because COVID-19 cases were taking up all the ICU beds.

Ray Martin DeMonia of Cullman died in a Mississippi hospital Sept. 1, just three days before his 74th birthday, according to his obituary.

When DeMonia had suffered a heart attack, local emergency staff started reaching out to hospitals in search of a cardiac ICU bed for him.

His family said DeMonia was turned away from 43 hospitals because their ICUs were full and staff were stretched thin amid a surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant.  

Emergency workers finally located an available bed at Rush Foundation Hospital in Meridian, Miss. — about 200 miles away from his home — but he died.

In the wake of his death, DeMonia’s family used his obituary to urge people to get vaccinated.

“In honor of Ray, please get vaccinated if you have not, in an effort to free up resources for non-COVID related emergencies,” the obituary said. “He would not want any other family to go through what his did.”

DeMonia was a well-known Alabama antique dealer and had worked in the industry 40 years, his family said.

He is survived by his wife, daughter and grandson.

As of Monday, Alabama’s health department was warning there was a high level of community transmission across the state.

More than 2,400 people were in hospitals across the state, according to health department data.

So far, 1.8 million people in Alabama have been fully vaccinated, which is about 35 percent of the state’s total population, data shows.

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