Ray DeMonia: Man, 73, dies after 43 ICUs filled with Covid patients turn him away
A 73-year-old man from Alabama died from heart failure after failing to get admitted to any hospital across three states. Ray DeMonia, an antique businessman from Cullman, was turned away by 43 hospitals in three southern states as their ICUs were overburdened with critical Covid patients. DeMonia finally secured a bed at the Rush Foundation Hospital in Meridian, Mississippi, but it was too late for his recovery. He eventually passed away on September 1, 2021, shortly after arriving at the hospital which was 200 miles away from his home. It was only three days prior to his 74th birthday.
In his obituary, DeMonia's family specifically mentioned, "In honor of Ray, please get vaccinated if you have not, in an effort to free up resources for non-COVID-related emergencies." It added, "Due to COVID 19, CRMC emergency staff contacted 43 hospitals in 3 states in search of a Cardiac ICU bed and finally located one in Meridian, MS. He would not want any other family to go through what his did. Ray DeMonia was like no other."
Who was Ray DeMonia?
Ray DeMonia was a renowned antique collector from Alabama who learned the craft of antique restoration from his father. He had been managing the business for over 40 years. Alongside, he also overlooked estate sales and appraised pieces for insurance coverage. He was well-revered in his community in Cullman County, where he also served as the fund-raising auctioneer every year for the Cullman Rotary Club and Hospice of Cullman County.
On August 23, 2021, he suffered a cardiac event at the Cullman Regional Medical Center. Soon the medical staff decided that he needed more serious medical intervention and urgently needed to procure a bed at a hospital. However, despite contacting 43 hospital, they failed to find any free bed across three states. Given the aggravating Covid rate across USA, especially in the Southern states, most of the hospital are already overburdened with Covid patients. A majority of these patients happen to be unvaccinated who often violate Covid safety protocols.
Around 40% people in Alabama have been fully vaccinated whereas only 51.1% have received at least one dose. The number is far behind the national average of 63.7% Americans who are fully vaccinated. The unfounded conspiracy theories and myths around the Covid vaccines have prompted many to decide against getting the jab. Meanwhile, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, ICU beds in Alabama were at a staggering 103% capacity last week due to Covid saturation. Needless to mention, unvaccinated Covid patients are occupying most the ICUs.
The Alabama Hospital Association Deputy Direction Danne Howard has termed the state's Covid situation as 'dire', adding "We're certainly not trending in the right direction. That's why we're so aggressively trying to find additional resources, so those decisions don't have to be made, so those type of life-or-death situations are not something that have to be faced," he further stated.