Robot told patient he had days to live

13 March, 2019, 23:10 | Author: Veronica Peterson
  • 9 2019 by Ernest Quintana's grand daughter Annalisa Wilharm shows the robot doctor who came to Ernest's hospital room at a Kaiser Permanente facility in Fremont California to announce he will soon die

Rather than a doctor deliver the news that he would likely die within days in person, one flashed up on a screen on the robot to tell them via video link. "I was going to lose my grandfather".

"We knew that it was coming and that he was very sick, but I don't think somebody should get that news delivered that way".

"The next thing I know he's telling him, "I got these MRI results back and there's no lungs left, there's nothing to work with".

"The nurse came around and said the doctor was going to make rounds and I thought 'OK, no big deal; I'm here, '" said Wilharm. She said her grandfather was also hard of hearing in his right ear and the robot doctor wasn't able to maneuver to that side of the bed.

Kaiser Permanente Senior Vice-President Michelle Gaskill-Hames issued a statement following the passing of Mr. Quintana nearly a week later.

"It did not replace previous conversations with patient and family members and was not used in the delivery of the initial diagnosis".

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His family had known that he would die of his chronic lung disease, but were not expecting to receive news of his imminent death when a robot arrived at the intensive care unit on the night Mr Quintana was admitted. That evening, Wilharm told her mother and grandmother - Quintana's wife of 58 years - that the pair should go home and get some rest. Distorted by the speakers, the doctor's voice was inaudible to Ernest, leaving Annalisia to repeat everything he said to her grandfather.

"The use of the term "robot" is inaccurate and inappropriate".

"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 to explain the objective and function of the technology", Ms Gaskill-Hames said. 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".

According to Wilharm, the medical staff told her the robot is "policy" and "what we do now".

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.

"He was such a sweet guy", she said.

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