Alabama man dies of heart issue after being rejected by 43 ICUs at capacity

AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

He wasn’t the first person whose life might have been saved if his local hospitals weren’t crowded with unvaccinated COVID patients. And he won’t be the last.

It’s political malpractice by Biden’s team if they don’t make Ray DeMonia and Daniel Wilkinson household names. Granted, what happened to them doesn’t support the legal case for a federal employer vaccine mandate, which turns on protecting workers in the workplace from COVID.

But it strengthens the moral and political case. The more people get vaccinated, the more lives will be saved. And not just the lives of those receiving the shots.

Ray Martin DeMonia of Cullman, Alabama passed on Wednesday September 1, 2021 at Rush Foundation Hospital in Meridian, Mississippi after suffering a cardiac event…

In honor of Ray, please get vaccinated if you have not, in an effort to free up resources for non COVID related emergencies. Due to COVID 19, CRMC emergency staff contacted 43 hospitals in 3 states in search of a Cardiac ICU bed and finally located one in Meridian, MS. He would not want any other family to go through what his did.

Here’s the case curve in DeMonia’s home county of Cullman. It topped out on September 1, the day he died:

The county peak of (almost) 125 cases per 100,000 residents is a big number but it wouldn’t even crack the top 100 right now in the United States. Scroll through the list and you’ll find it’s dominated by small rural counties in Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Texas. Just 31 percent of Cullman County residents are fully vaccinated and just 40 percent of Alabamians overall. That puts it in the bottom three U.S. states, ahead of only West Virginia and Wyoming.

Needless to say, DeMonia couldn’t get a bed close to home because those beds were mostly occupied by people with severe COVID. And most of them were unvaccinated.

During the week of DeMonia’s death, Alabama reported a shortage of ICU hospital beds, with more than half of them being occupied by COVID-19 patients, CBS 42 reported…

Johns Hopkins University & Medicine found that Alabama ICU beds were at 103% capacity that week, and the Montgomery Advertiser reported that unvaccinated patients continue to make up the majority of COVID-19 patients in the ICUs.

Russell Griffin, a professor of epidemiology at University of Alabama Birmingham who has studied patients hospitalized at the university’s hospital for COVID, said 61 of 66 patients in intensive care for COVID were unvaccinated.

As of two days ago, there were 60 more ICU patients in Alabama than there were available beds and 51 percent of those patients have COVID. Most or all of them could have averted that by getting a free, widely available vaccine.

What can be said or done to convince the remaining unvaccinated cohort to get their shots and keep beds free for people like DeMonia? According to a new poll, basically nothing:

Among the 29% of U.S. voters who are unvaccinated, 83% say they do not plan to get the lifesaving shots, the survey shows. A frustrated Biden on Thursday outlined a host of new vaccine and testing mandates for federal workers and contractors as well as health-care and private company employees…

Of the unvaccinated respondents, 84% said their decision against immunization wouldn’t change if the vaccines had no side effects and 87% said they still wouldn’t get the shots if their employer mandated them. Just 5% and 4% of respondents, respectively, said those things would make them “much more likely” to change their minds, the survey shows. Pressure from family members made little difference, with just 2% saying that would make them much more likely to get the shots.

I’ll leave you with this grim graph, which made me think of all the reports back in the spring about how reluctant Europeans traditionally have been to get vaccinated. Especially France, we were told.

David Strom 6:41 PM on September 26, 2022