California man learns he’s dying from doctor on video shown on robot

03/13/2019 04:54 |

California man learns he’s dying from doctor on video shown on robot

Photo Ernest Quintana died from chronic lung disease.

A California woman is upset with a hospital where she learned her grandfather was dying from a doctor on a video-screen, on a robotic-device.

Kaiser Permanente Senior Vice-President Michelle Gaskill-Hames issued a statement following the passing of Mr. Quintana nearly a week later. "It should've been a human being come in", Wilharm told local TV station KTVU. "We offer our honest condolences", she said.

A 78-year-old California patient recently received his end-of-life news via a robot operated by his doctor - prompting the man's angry family to go public with their story.

The doctor on the screen said there was serious damage to Quintana's lungs.

When Mr Quintana's wife arrived, she complained to hospital staff about how the news was broken to her husband. "It should've been a doctor who came up to his bedside".

"So he's saying that maybe your next step is going to hospice at home", Ms Wilharm is heard saying in a video she recorded of the visit. Wilharm said the machine essentially told Quintana "you might not make it home".

She said after the visit, he gave her instructions on who should get what and made her promise to look after her grandmother. Distorted by the speakers, the doctor's voice was inaudible to Ernest, leaving Annalisia to repeat everything he said to her grandfather.

"In every aspect of our care, and especially when communicating hard information, we do so with compassion in a personal manner", she said, adding that the term "robot" is "inaccurate and inappropriate".

Kaiser said they are continuously learning how to best integrate technology into patient interactions and will use this experience as an opportunity to make improvements. "This secure video technology is a live conversation with a physician using tele-video technology, and always with a nurse or other physician in the room", said Kaiser Permanente.

Michelle Gaskill-Hames, senior vice-president of Kaiser Permanente Greater Southern Alameda County, called the situation highly unusual and said officials "regret falling short" of the patient's expectations. It "allows a small hospital to have additional specialists such as a board-certified critical care physician available 24/7, enhancing the care provided and bringing additional consultative expertise to the bedside". "It felt like someone took the air out of me", she said.

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