SACRAMENTO – The Veterans Administration confirmed that a “do not resuscitate” armband was mistakenly placed on a patient who died following surgery Friday at the Sacramento VA Medical Center, but insisted the error was not fatal.
Family members identified the patient as Roland Mayo, 65, a Vietnam veteran and former Riverside County deputy sheriff and marshal.
“He was a great guy. He loved his kids. He loved his grandkids,” said Niecy Mayo, who is married to Roland Mayo, Jr. “This came out of the blue.”
Delania Mayo Kenton, the youngest of Mayo’s three grown children, said her father was hospitalized Oct. 8 for a stent replacement in his carotid artery but that complications from previous cancer surgery required a second operation.
Delania, who lives in Southern California, said reports from family members at the hospital were that the second surgery had gone well.
“Friday morning he was smiling and doing fine,” Delania said.
Later, Delania was told, her father began vomiting and then choking on the vomit.
An anonymous tip to News10 on Friday said the staff had mistakenly placed a DNR band on Mayo’s arm, which the VA confirmed on Monday– but the VA said it doesn’t believe the error contributed to Mayo’s death.
VA spokeswoman Tara Ricks offered the following statement:
After an initial investigation, we can confirm that a do not resuscitate (DNR) band was incorrectly placed on one of our patients who passed away on Friday. At the time of the code, the response team reviewed the patient’s medical record and clarified that the patient was not a DNR status. The arm band did not contribute to a delay in the response of the code team, which attempted to resuscitate the patient within minutes of the code being called. At this time, initial findings indicate that timely resuscitation was performed. Leadership at VA Northern California Health Care System has made contact with the patient’s family to apologize and express our sincerest condolences for their loss.
Family members said Mayo’s twin brother and best friend, Noland, was heartbroken over Roland’s death and was too distraught to talk about it.
Delania said the brothers had served together in the US Army’s 101st Airborne Division. They lived a few miles apart in Citrus Heights and spoke on the phone several times a day, she said.
She expressed frustration that hospital officials had not returned her phone calls seeking a detailed explanation of the incident.
Ricks, the VA spokeswoman, said privacy rules prevented staff from releasing information to anyone other than the person identified as Mayo’s next of kin, who is his twin brother.
Because of the circumstances surrounding Roland Mayo’s death, funeral arrangements had not been made.