By Alta Mantra and Holi Yan | CNN
Ray Damonia was not seeking Covid-19 treatment when he arrived at a hospital in Alabama with heart problems.
But the 73-year-old became an indirect victim of Covid-19 patients filling up hospital and ICU beds.
His daughter Raven Damonia told The Washington Post that the heart patient from Kalman, Alabama, died at a Mississippi hospital about 200 miles from his home because there were no cardiac ICU beds nearby.
In Damonia’s obituary, the family requests everyone to get vaccinated so as to prevent others from being denied care due to lack of resources.
“In honor of Ray, if you haven’t in an effort to free up resources for non-COVID related emergencies, please get vaccinated,” the obituary read.
“Due to COVID-19, the emergency staff of CRMC approached 43 hospitals across 3 states in search of cardiac ICU beds and finally one located at Meridian, MS. He would not want any other family to go through what he had done. “
Damonia went to Kalman Regional Medical Center on August 23 because he was having heart problems, Raven Damonia told the Post.
She said her mother was called by hospital staff about 12 hours after she was admitted, which said staff had called 43 hospitals and that they could not find “special cardiac ICU beds”.
Eventually, staff found an ICU bed at Rush Foundation Hospital in Meridian, Mississippi, Betty told the Post.
Raven Damonia was stunned to learn that her father had been taken to Mississippi, she said.
“It was like, ‘What do you mean? He told the Post.
Citing confidentiality reasons, a spokesperson for Kalman Regional Medical Center did not provide details of Ray Damonia’s case when asked by the Post, but confirmed that Damonia “was a patient in our care and was transferred to a different facility.” had gone.”
“The level of care she needed was not available at Cullman Regional,” Jennifer Malone told the Post.
“When patients are moved to other facilities for care, it is becoming more and more difficult because all hospitals are facing a shortage of bed space,” Malone said.
He told the Post that the situation faced by the Demonia family during the Covid-19 boom is an “ongoing problem”.
CNN has tried to contact family members of Ray Demonia and has reached out to Kalman Regional Medical Center for comment.
State Health Officer Dr Scott Harris said there are not enough ICU beds for everyone who needs an influx of Covid-19 patients has overwhelmed ICUs in Alabama.
Alabama was short of 60 ICU beds as of Friday — an increase in need from a week earlier, when the state had 40 ICU beds.
That means there are 60 patients “who are terminally ill because they are critically ill and yet do not have an ICU bed,” Harris said Friday.
“He is being looked after in an emergency department or a ward bed that has been turned into an ICU room or a gurney in the hallway.”
People should ‘feel the pressure on hospital resources’
His daughter said that Damonia had suffered a stroke in April 2020. Even though the pandemic was already taking hold across the country, it took just three hours for a local hospital to find a “Covid-free” hospital about 50 miles from Cullman, Raven Damonia said.
Since then, Damonia has made sure to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
“He knew what a vaccine meant for his health and what it meant to be alive,” his daughter said. “He said, ‘I just want to shake hands with people, sell stuff and talk antiques.'”
Ray Damonia loved antiques and had been in the business for nearly 40 years, running Damonia’s Antiques and Auctions, according to his obituary.
The man who traveled the country “to collect antiques and share his wealth of knowledge,” died on September 1, just three days before his 74th birthday.
“Dad wants everything to be back to normal,” Raven Damonia told the Post.
“If people would realize the pressure on hospital resources that is happening right now, that would be really amazing. But I don’t know if that will ever happen.”