Ray DeMonia didn't have COVID-19, but it was still the issue. When the 73-year-old Alabama man had a cardiac event on Aug. 23, he needed a cardiac ICU bed. But the ICU beds in hospitals near him were all taken up by COVID-19 patients, AL.com reports. After calls to 43 hospitals in three states by staffers at Cullman Regional Medical Center, an ICU spot was found for DeMonia—200 miles away from his home, in Meridian, Mississippi. DeMonia, 73, died there on Sept. 1.
Saying that hospitals across the South are filled with coronavirus patients, DeMonia's family wants to avoid a similar difficulty for others. "In honor of Ray, please get vaccinated if you have not, in an effort to free up resources for non COVID related emergencies," his obituary says. "He would not want any other family to go through what his did," the family says. The Alabama Hospital Association reported earlier that this month that more that half of the state's ICU beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients. The hospitals need 120 more ICU beds to meet the need, per WIAT. Beds can't be added because there's a shortage of doctors and nurses.
DeMonia owned an antiques and auctions business for 40 years, after learning antique restoration from his father, and appraised pieces for insurance coverage. He served as an auctioneer for local charities' fundraisers. Another role was managing estate sales, which once led him to discover a painting by Claude Monet. "Not many people can say they’ve held a Monet, DeMonia said. The obituary says, "Ray DeMonia was like no other," per Yahoo News. (Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)