A family is sharing the news of their brother’s death in the hopes it inspires more residents to get vaccinated.
Dan Armstrong died on Oct. 10 after a short, difficult battle with COVID. He was the son of Olive Matus and George Armstrong.
Dan’s sister, Mary, shared the news with the Roundup and asked that we use his death as a cautionary tale about what can happen when an individual refuses to be vaccinated against the illness.
Dan came to the Rim Country with his family in the 1950s and attended Payson schools with his sisters Mary and Lynnie. He co-owned the Doll Baby Ranch with his father in the 1980s. While Dan had hoped to develop the property into a ranch-oriented resort, his father, George, ran a working ranch with as many as 350 head.
Dan, 73, was told not to get the vaccine for COVID because they knew so little about it and it was possible it might do more damage than good. This went against his family’s wishes. “We kept telling him he needed to get the vaccine,” Mary said.
A friend suspected he had become ill with COVID on Sept. 24. Mary took him to the doctor on Sept. 28. Armstrong went to the emergency room at a Henderson, Nev. hospital on Oct. 1.
“He was in the emergency room for two days before they could get him a hospital bed,” Mary said.
She said she tried to advocate for her brother, with the help of a pathologist friend. The doctor her brother saw on Sept. 28 gave him a flu shot. Then, in the hospital, they waited to intubate him until there was no alternative. Instead, they gave him oxygen through a cannula and then, as his condition declined, used BiPAP oxygen delivery.
Mary said on Oct. 4 he seemed better, but then on Oct. 5 he started declining. She had a Zoom meeting with him on Oct. 8 and he was really struggling with the BiPAP. She said the nurse said the BiPAP was wearing him out; he was in pain and couldn’t sleep.
Mary said she and her friend think if they had intubated her brother sooner, he might have survived and she is certain getting a vaccine for COVID would have made a difference.
“I really hope people realize how important it is to get a vaccine,” she said.