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. His family stated that

“Ray had been a great, great person, loved and respected by many.

DeMonia died as Covid-19 cases in the state, which has had one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, continue to surge.

Ray DeMonia. DeMonia family

Some Alabama nurses have protested the grueling work conditions, and last month a doctor in Mobile said he would stop treating unvaccinated patients. In his obituary, his relatives urged those who were not vaccinated to do so “in order to free up resources to deal with non-Covid related emergencies.” “

“He wouldn’t want any family to have to go through the same thing as his.” His family stated.

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 from Cullman Hospital, located about an hour north-east of Birmingham, didn’t immediately respond to a request to 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.

Tim Stelloh is a reporter for NBC News based in California.

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