Alabama man dies of cardiac event after 43 hospitals with full ICUs turned him away – USA TODAY

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The family of a man who died of heart issues in Mississippi is asking people to get vaccinated for COVID-19 after 43 hospitals across three states were unable to accept him because of full cardiac ICUs. 

Ray Martin DeMonia died last week in Meridian, Mississippi. He was three days shy of his 74th birthday and a well-known native in Cullman, Alabama, his family said.  

DeMonia suffered from a cardiac event, and emergency staff at Cullman Regional Medical Center had to bring him to the nearest available bed, which was nearly 200 miles away at a Mississippi hospital.

In his obituary, DeMonia’s family urged people to get vaccinated against COVID-19. 

“In honor of Ray, please get vaccinated if you have not, in an effort to free up resources for non-COVID related emergencies,” the obituary read. “He would not want any other family to go through what his did.”

“Ray DeMonia was like no other,” his obituary read. 

DeMonia spent 40 years in the antiques business in Alabama. 

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As of Thursday, there are 60 more ICU patients in Alabama than there are beds, and 51% of those patients have tested positive for COVID-19.

The U.S. has recorded more than 40.6 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 655,800 deaths. Cases have surged in areas across the country in recent months due to the delta variant of the virus. 

Hadley Hitson covers the rural South for the Montgomery Advertiser and Report for America. She can be reached at hhitson@gannett.com.