Alabama Man Dies of Heart Failure After 43 Hospitals With Full ICUs Turn Him Away

An Alabama man died of a cardiac failure after he was turned away from 43 hospitals whose ICUs were filled with COVID-19 patients.

Auctioneer Ray Martin DeMonia, 73, of Cullman, was able to find an intensive care unit bed some 200 miles away in Meridian, Mississippi, after emergency staff called 43 hospitals searching for space.

While a bed was found for DeMonia at the Rush Foundation Hospital, he died after suffering complications due to his cardiac arrest on September 1.

According to his family, DeMonia struggled to find an empty bed due to ICUs being overrun with unvaccinated patients who had been struck down with COVID-19.

In DeMonia's obituary, seen by Newsweek, his family pleaded with unvaccinated people to get jabbed in order to free up hospital beds in the future.

Their statement read: "In honor of Ray, please get vaccinated if you have not, in an effort to free up resources for non-COVID related emergencies.

"Due to COVID-19 Cullman, Regional Medical Center emergency staff contacted 43 hospitals in three states in search of a cardiac ICU bed and finally located one in Meridian, Mississippi. He would not want any other family to go through what his did."

The family will hold a celebration for DeMonia's life at a later date and described him as "like no other."

Alabama has lagged behind other states' vaccination rates, which has seen an increase of patients needing intensive care after they contracted the virus.

According to the CDC, 53.7 percent of Alabamans have been fully vaccinated against COVID, while 63 percent received at least one jab.

While the state is improving its vaccination rates, there are still counties that are falling behind with some 30 percent being inoculated.

The week DeMonia died, the Alabama Hospital Association (AHA) said the state had fewer ICU beds available compared to patients who needed one.

It recommended people to wear masks in public, get vaccinated and speak to their doctor about monoclonal antibody treatments if they tested positive for the virus.

On Saturday, the AHA said the problem has persisted and that the number of staffed ICU beds was 1,543 and the number of ICU patients was 1,547.

It added that 83 percent of those COVID patients who were in the beds had not been vaccinated, compared to 4 percent who had been partially inoculated and 13 percent who had received both jabs.

Idaho Hospital
Alabama has suffered from ICU bed shortages A R.N. holds the hand of a COVID-19 patient in the Medical Intensive care unit (MICU) at St. Luke's Boise Medical Center in Boise, Idaho on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021. Kyle Green/AP Photo