WORCESTER, Mass. — A Massachusetts man and pizza shop owner died while waiting for a hospital bed to open up after contracting COVID-19
Antonios “Tony” Tsantinis, 68, of East Brookfield died Dec. 10. He had fallen ill just after Thanksgiving and his longtime companion, Angela DiUlio, was sick, too. During a trip to the emergency room, they both tested positive for COVID-19.
They posted on social media Nov. 30, letting people know their business Athens Pizza would be closed, a rare event, due to their positive tests.
Tsantinis was admitted to a hospital in Southbridge after his daughter, Rona Tsantinis-Roy, realized he had become a lot sicker. He needed additional care that the hospital was unable to provide and a search ensued for an available hospital bed.
"They called every hospital within 75 miles," Tsantinis-Roy said, adding that by the time there was a spot for him at a Connecticut hospital, he was too sick to be transferred.
As he battled COVID-19, his kidneys began to fail and he needed dialysis, according to NPR.
A short time later, Tsantinis-Roy and her brother, Andy Tsantinis, saw their dad, but it was to say goodbye.
"He literally looked me in the eyes and said this didn't have to happen," Tsantinis-Roy recounted to NPR when the doctor told her that her father was dead.
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Tsantinis was unvaccinated and "didn't believe in vaccines," Tsantinis-Roy told the outlet.
Tsantinis-Roy said she believes her dad should have had more time, but by then, there was a ventilator and the need for dialysis and the realization that there was nothing left that could save the beloved father, grandfather, friend, farmer and fixture behind the pizza shop counter.
COVID-19 cases have been surging since the omicron variant emerged in November last year. Modelers forecast that there could be 50,000 to 300,000 more Americans who die from the virus until the new wave of cases subsides in mid-March, according to the Associated Press.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY NETWORK: Massachusetts pizza shop owner with COVID dies awaiting hospital bed