(Trends Wide) — Ray DeMonia was not seeking treatment for COVID-19 when he arrived at an Alabama hospital with heart problems. But this 73-year-old man became an indirect victim of the Covid-19 patients that fill hospitals and intensive care unit (ICU) beds.
The Cullman, Alabama, heart patient died in a Mississippi hospital about 200 miles from his home because there were no nearby ICU beds for heart patients, his daughter Raven DeMonia told The Washington Post.
In DeMonia’s obituary, the family pleaded for everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to prevent others from being denied care due to lack of resources.
“In honor of Ray, please get vaccinated if you haven’t, in an effort to free up resources for non-COVID emergencies,” the obituary read.
In contact with 43 hospitals to find an ICU bed
“Due to covid-19, CRMC emergency personnel contacted 43 hospitals in 3 states looking for a bed in the cardiac ICU and finally located one in Meridian, MS. He would not have wanted any other family to pass by. for the same as yours. “
DeMonia went to Cullman Regional Medical Center (CRMC) on Aug. 23 because she had heart problems, Raven DeMonia told The Washington Post.
She said her mother received a call from hospital staff about 12 hours after he was admitted, saying that staff had called 43 hospitals and were unable to find a “specialized cardiac ICU bed.”
Eventually, staff found an ICU bed at Rush Foundation Hospital in Meridian, Mississippi, the daughter told The Washington Post.
Raven DeMonia was stunned to learn that her father had to be airlifted to Mississippi, she said.
“It was like, ‘What do you mean?’
Citing privacy reasons, a CRMC spokesperson declined to provide details about Ray DeMonia’s case when asked by the Post, but did confirm that he was “a patient under our care and was transferred to a different facility.”
“The level of care it required was not available at Cullman Regional,” Jennifer Malone told the Post.
“When patients are transported to other facilities to receive the care they need, that is increasingly difficult because all hospitals are experiencing a greater lack of bed space,” Malone added.
Situations like the one facing the DeMonia family are an “ongoing problem” during the COVID-19 wave, he told The Washington Post.
Trends Wide attempted to contact members of Ray DeMonia’s family and contacted the CRMC for comment.
DeMonia suffered a stroke in April 2020, her daughter said. Despite the pandemic already spreading across the country, it took only three hours for the local hospital to find a “covid-free” hospital about 50 miles from Cullman, in nearby Birmingham, Alabama, Raven DeMonia explained.
“I don’t know if that will ever happen”
Ray DeMonia loved antiques and had been in the business for about four decades, running DeMonia’s Antiques and Auctions, according to his obituary, his daughter said.
The man, who “traveled the country collecting antiques and sharing his wealth of knowledge,” died on September 1, just three days before his 74th birthday.
“Dad would just want everything to go back to normal,” Raven DeMonia told The Washington Post.
“If people realized the pressure on hospital resources right now, it would be really amazing. But I don’t know if that will ever happen.”