An Alabama antiques dealer died this month of a “cardiac event” after the emergency staff at his local hospital contacted dozens of intensive care units in three states and was unable to find him a bed as Covid-19 cases surged, his family said.
The man, Ray DeMonia, who ran DeMonia’s Antiques and Auctions for four decades, died Sept. 1, three days before his 74th birthday, his family said in an obituary published this month.
“Ray was a great, great man, liked and respected by many,” his family said.
DeMonia died as Covid-19 cases in the state, which has had one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, continue to surge.
Some Alabama nurses have protested the grueling work conditions, and last month a doctor in Mobile said he would stop treating unvaccinated patients.
In the obituary, his family urged people who have not been vaccinated to get their shots — “in an effort to free up resources for non Covid related emergencies.”
“He would not want any other family to go through what his did,” his family said.
They said he died at Rush Foundation Hospital in Meridian, Mississippi, after staff members at Cullman Regional Medical Center contacted 43 ICUs and were unable to find him a bed.
A spokeswoman for the hospital in Cullman, about an hour north of Birmingham, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Alabama has one of the highest rates of new Covid-19 cases in the country, with about 541 per 100,000 people having tested positive in the last seven days.
In that period, 259 people died, the CDC reported.