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Family: Dozens of COVID-filled hospitals turned down man


Montgomery, Ala. – As hundreds of mostly uninfected COVID-19 patients in Alabama intensive care units, hospital workers in northern Alabama contacted 43 hospitals in three states to find a specialized cardiac ICU bed for Ray Martin Demonia, His family wrote in his obituary. .

The Cullman man was eventually transferred to Meridian, Mississippi, about 170 miles (274 km) away. It was here that the 73-year-old antique dealer died of a heart attack on 1 September. Now his family is pleading.

“In honor of Ray, if you haven’t in an effort to free up resources for non-COVID related emergencies, please get vaccinated,” his obituary read.

“Due to COVID-19, CRMC emergency staff contacted 43 hospitals across three states in search of cardiac ICU beds and finally one located in Meridian, MS,” of Cullman Regional Medical Center in their obituary. reference given. “He wouldn’t want any other family to go through what he did.”

“Every day hospitals are trying to find a place to move patients, and that’s very difficult,” Williamson said. “We’ve moved patients from Georgia, Kentucky to Florida.”

Jennifer Malone, a spokeswoman for Cullman Hospital, confirmed that Damonia was a patient and said she needed to be transferred to receive a higher level of specialized care that is not available at Cullman Regional Medical Center. She couldn’t comment more for privacy reasons, but said, “The continued increase in COVID patients has saturated tertiary care hospitals, which are desperate for Cullman regional staff to find hospitals capable of receiving patient transfers when needed.” is creating an ever-increasing and growing challenge for the

Williamson also could not comment on Damonia’s case, but he said the struggle to find an open bed to transfer a patient is a scenario that is being played out on a daily basis.

“In fact, half of our ICU beds are now full of COVID patients,” Williamson said.

Alabama had 2,474 COVID-19 patients in state hospitals on Monday, 86% of whom were not vaccinated, according to the Alabama Hospital Association.

About half of the state’s intensive care unit beds, or 772 beds, are occupied by a person with COVID-19. And the increase in patients meant that some hospitals had to convert other locations into ICUs. State officials said patients who are normally treated in ICU wards are cared for in emergency rooms, common beds or even abandoned gurneys in hallways.

The state had 1,562 ICU patients on Monday but 1,551 dedicated ICU beds.

The situation was even worse on 1 September when Damonia passed away. On that day, 92 more patients required ICU care than the number of dedicated beds in the state. Damonia’s daughter did not immediately respond to a Facebook message seeking comment.

“We continue to have a real crisis in Alabama with our ICU bed capacity,” Harris said.

While Harris said Alabama’s vaccination numbers have improved in recent weeks as the state has recorded double-digit deaths per day for a month or two, with 40% of the state’s residents being fully vaccinated, Whereas compared to 53% nationally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In his obituary and in a story in his hometown paper, The Kalman Times, Damonia was remembered as a family man who developed a love of antiques as a child and his auctioneering skills in community fundraisers. , and had voluntarily developed the spirit of showmanship.

“Ray Demonia was like no other,” his family wrote.

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