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El Paisano

A Doctor in California Used a Video Link Robot to Tell a Patient he was Going to Die

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A Doctor in California Used a Video Link Robot to Tell a Patient he was Going to Die

Doctor Delivers Bad News by Robot Machine

Doctor Delivers Bad News by Robot Machine

Doctor Delivers Bad News by Robot Machine

Doctor Delivers Bad News by Robot Machine

Diane Chau, writer/reporter

Machine Delivers Sad News to Patient

In San Francisco, Ernest Quintana, was dying due to chronic lung disease. The Quintana’s family is  was very devastated after a machine came into the patient’s room in the intensive care unit and told the 78 years old man that he only has a few days to live within a few days. Quintana’s daughter, Catherine, said “If you’re coming to tell us normal news, that’s fine, but if you’re coming to tell us there’s no lung left and we want to put you on a morphine drip until you die, it should be done by a human being and not a machine.” Sad to say, Ernest passed away on Tuesday which was two days after being brought into Kaiser Permanente Medical Center emergency department in Fremont.

Words from the Hospital and Vice President

Senior vice president of Kaiser Permanente, Michelle Hames, called the situation highly unusual. The officials regret falling short and also for not meeting the patient’s expectation. Moreover, the hospital defended its use of a machine. The hospital’s policy is to have a nurse or doctor in the room when giving the consultation. CBS got words from the hospital, “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 purpose and function of the technology.” The hospital officials strongly believe that technology does not replace the same feeling as having a real conversation with an individual.

Words from Quintana’s Granddaughter

Quintana’s granddaughter, Annalisia Wilharm, 33, was alone with Quintana on that day. Shortly after, a nurse came in to say the doctor would be making his rounds. Additionally, a robot rolled in and a doctor appeared on the video screen. Wilharm was surprised by what the doctor disclosed to them. Wilharm said, “This guy cannot breathe, and he’s got this robot trying to talk to him.” She proceeded, “Meanwhile, this guy is telling him, ‘So we’ve got your results back, and there’s no lung left. There’s no lung to work with.” Wilharm had to repeat everything that the doctor said since Quintana was having a difficult time hearing. Her grandfather was a family man who kept every childhood drawing she ever gave him. Wilharm said that after the visit, he gave her instructions on who should get what. He also made her promise to look after her grandmother. Quintana was a very sweet man and will 

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A Doctor in California Used a Video Link Robot to Tell a Patient he was Going to Die