The family of a Alabama man who died of heart issues in Mississippi is asking people to get vaccinated for COVID after 43 hospitals across three states were unable to accept him because of full cardiac ICUs.
Ray Martin DeMonia died on Sept. 1 in Meridian, Mississippi. He was three days shy of his 74th birthday and a well-known Cullman, Alabama, native, his family said.
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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 Rush Foundation 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."
DeMonia spent 40 years in the antiques business in Cullman and owned DeMonia's Antiques and Auctions. He also served as auctioneer annually for the Cullman Rotary Club fundraiser auction and the Annual Draw Down Auction for the Hospice of Cullman County.
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"Ray DeMonia was like no other," his obituary read.
In addition to asking people to get vaccinated, the family requested donations be made to the Cullman Rotary Club or Hospice of Cullman County in lieu of flowers.
DeMonia's family plans to announce a "celebration of life for Ray" at a later date.
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Hadley Hitson covers the rural South for the Montgomery Advertiser and Report for America. She can be reached at email@example.com.