- Ray DeMonia of Alabama died after medical emergency staff contacted 43 hospitals in search of an ICU bed.
- The nearest open hospital was nearly 200 miles away from DeMonia in Mississippi.
- In an obituary, his family urged others to “Please get vaccinated.”
The relatives of one Alabama resident who suffered a fatal cardiac event and had to be sent to a hospital nearly 200 miles away have a message they’ve shared in the days after his death: “Please get vaccinated.”
Ray Martin DeMonia of Cullman, Alabama died on September 1 in Meridian, Mississippi. Emergency medical staff at Cullman Regional Medical Center ultimately contacted 43 hospitals across three states before finding an open cardiac ICU bed for DeMonia at Rush Foundation Hospital in Meridian, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.
“In honor of Ray, please get vaccinated if you have not, in an effort to free up resources for non-COVID-related emergencies,” DeMonia’s family wrote in an obituary.
In early September, the average number of COVID-19 cases in Cullman County, in northern Alabama, surpassed levels seen during a spike last December, according to current CDC data.
On Thursday, the Montgomery Advertiser reported that hospitals in southeast Alabama, meanwhile, currently have 25 more ICU patients than available beds as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to stress medical systems in the region.
The share of the eligible population in Cullman County that is vaccinated is 36.4%, according to the CDC.
DeMonia was 73 years old and three days shy of his birthday. The owner of DeMonia’s Antiques and Auctions, he worked for 40 years in the antiques business in Cullman and served as the auctioneer for annual local fundraiser auctions.
DeMonia is survived by his wife, Patricia, and daughter, Raven, and other family members.
“Ray DeMonia was like no other,” Demonia’s obituary read. “He would not want any other family to go through what his did.”