An Alabama man died from an untreated cardiac arrest on Sept. 1, after 43 ICUs across three states refused to hospitalize him, citing an acute shortage of hospital beds amid COVID-19 surge.

According to New York Daily News, Ray Martin DeMonia, an elderly man, suffered a cardiac arrest in Meridian, Mississippi, barely days before his 74th birthday at the Cullman Regional Medical Center. The emergency situation pushed medical staff to send him off to Mississippi in hopes of helping him avail himself of the nearest available bed, but their efforts went in vain.

In a heart-wrenching post as part of his obituary, DeMonia’s family urged Americans to get vaccinated against the deadly virus in order to save themselves from the ordeal that Ray went through before his passing.

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

DeMonia was a seasoned professional with over four decades of experience in the antique business in Alabama. Sources close to him believe that a flair for the business ran in his blood, with DeMonia having learned the trade from his father Clifford DeMonia who ran a business in the line, in the 1960s. He grew up studying antiques and restoring, finding, and hauling them as a child, having imbided it from his father.

It is believed that DeMonia cherished the nature and workings of the trade, and spent over 24 years working for his father’s Vinemont shop, revamping furniture that clearly needed to be refurbished, Cullman Times reported. He reportedly oversaw estate sales and appraised pieces for insurance coverage. He also served as a fund-raising auctioneer for the Cullman Rotary Club and Hospice of Cullman County, annually.

There was a staggering shortage of beds, with over 60 ICU patients in excess than there are beds. Fifty-one percent of the patients in question were reportedly COVID-19 positive as on Thursday.

The US continues to be gripped by fear, due to a huge uptick in COVID-19 cases, which is partly being attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant. The country logged in over 40 million confirmed cases, which includes over 7,41,000 infections in Alabama alone. The rapid spread has reportedly left hospitals and medical facilities in the country on the brink of a collapse, with beds and other medical supplies getting filled at an unusually fast pace.  

A Covid-19 patient wearing the CPAP mask A Covid-19 patient wearing the CPAP mask is treated by health workers in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Covid Emergency department of the Umberto I Hospital, during the Coronavirus pandemic on December 17, 2020, in Rome, Italy. There have been over 1,870,000 reported coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Italy and more than 65,857 related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Photo by Antonio Masiello/Getty Images