(MONTGOMERY, Ala.) — As a whole lot of largely unvaccinated COVID-19 sufferers crammed Alabama intensive care items, hospital workers in north Alabama contacted 43 hospitals in three states to discover a specialty cardiac ICU mattress for Ray Martin DeMonia, his household wrote in his obituary.
The Cullman man was lastly transferred to Meridian, Mississippi, about 170 miles (274 kilometers) away. That’s the place the 73-year-old antiques seller died Sept. 1 due to the cardiac occasion he suffered. Now, his household is making a plea.
“In honor of Ray, please get vaccinated in case you have not, in an effort to unencumber sources for non-COVID associated emergencies,” his obituary learn.
“Resulting from COVID-19, CRMC emergency workers contacted 43 hospitals in three states searching for a cardiac ICU mattress and eventually situated one in Meridian, MS,” his obituary learn, referencing Cullman Regional Medical Heart. “He wouldn’t need every other household to undergo what his did.”
Alabama for weeks has seen a surge of largely unvaccinated sufferers filling hospitals and intensive care items, making it more and more tough to switch sufferers to different services for specialty care, mentioned Dr. Don Williamson, the previous state well being officer who now heads the Alabama Hospital Affiliation.
“Day by day hospitals are looking for a spot to switch sufferers, and it is vitally tough,” Williamson mentioned. “We’ve had sufferers transferred to Georgia, to Kentucky to Florida.”
Jennifer Malone, a spokesperson for the Cullman hospital, confirmed DeMonia was a affected person and mentioned he wanted to be transferred to obtain a better stage of specialised care not obtainable at Cullman Regional Medical Heart. She couldn’t remark extra for privateness causes, however mentioned, the “continued surge in COVID sufferers has saturated tertiary care hospitals creating an ongoing and rising problem for Cullman Regional workers to seek out hospitals in a position to obtain affected person transfers when wanted.”
Williamson additionally couldn’t touch upon DeMonia’s case however mentioned the wrestle to seek out an open mattress to switch a affected person is a situation being performed out day by day.
“Principally, half of our ICU beds are actually crammed with COVID sufferers,” Williamson mentioned.
Alabama on Monday had 2,474 COVID-19 sufferers in state hospitals of which 86% have been unvaccinated, in keeping with the Alabama Hospital Affiliation.
Practically half of the state’s intensive care unit beds, or 772 beds, are occupied by an individual with COVID-19. And the surge of sufferers meant some hospitals needed to convert different house to ICUs. Sufferers who usually could be handled in ICU wards are as an alternative being cared for in emergency rooms, regular beds and even gurneys left in hallways, state officers mentioned.
The state had 1,562 ICU sufferers Monday, however 1,551 devoted ICU beds.
The scenario was even worse on Sept. 1 when DeMonia handed away. The state that day had 92 extra sufferers needing ICU care than it had devoted beds. DeMonia’s daughter didn’t instantly reply to a Fb message in search of remark.
After threatening to achieve an all-time excessive for hospitalizations in the course of the coronavirus pandemic, state hospitals have seen a slight decline in current days, Dr. Scott Harris, head of the Alabama Division of Public Well being, mentioned final week.
“We proceed to have an actual disaster in Alabama with our ICU mattress capability,” Harris mentioned.
Whereas Harris mentioned Alabama’s vaccination numbers have improved in current weeks because the state recorded double-digit deaths day by day for a month or so, just below 40% of the state’s residents are totally vaccinated, in contrast with 53% nationally, in keeping with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.
In his obituary and in a narrative in his hometown paper, The Cullman Instances, DeMonia was remembered as a household man who developed a love of antiques as a baby and volunteered his auctioneering expertise, and sense of showmanship, at neighborhood fundraisers.
“Ray DeMonia was like no different,” his household wrote.