An Alabama heart patient has died because there was no ICU bed for him in three states. Seventy-three-year-old Ray DeMonia who had been operating DeMonia’s Antiques and Auctions for over 40 years died on September 1 because no ICU bed was found for him. He died three days before his 74th birthday.
According to his family, DeMonia was airlifted to the Rush Foundation Hospital in Meridian, Mississippi to be treated for a cardiac emergency. On his behalf, the Cullman Regional Medical Center reached out to 43 intensive care units in three days to secure a bed for him, without success. And he died.
DeMonia was vaccinated against COVID-19, but he died because all the ICUs had been filled with COVID-19 patients who were probably unvaccinated. According to the CDC, 541 persons per 100,000 people had tested positive for the disease in the last seven days in Alabama, and 259 people had died within that period.
Alabama has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 infections in the United States in recent times, and a doctor in Mobile even threatened to stop treating unvaccinated patients. Some nurses also threatened to resign if hospitalizations for new infection cases continue to rise. DeMonia’s family also urged people to get vaccinated so that hospitalizations can decrease and people with other medical needs can get treated easily.
“In honor of Ray, please get vaccinated if you have not, in an effort to free up resources for non-COVID related emergencies,” the family wrote. “He would not want any other family to go through what he did. If people would just realize the strain on hospital resources that’s happening right now, then that would be really amazing.”
Scott Harris, head of the Alabama Department of Public Health, also confirmed that more people require ICU care and there are no beds to accommodate them due to increasing COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations. The Washington Post said only 40% of Alabama residents are fully vaccinated, and the state has the fourth-lowest vaccination rate in the country. The three lowest are Idaho, Wyoming, and West Virginia.