The family of a California man is upset after a doctor has passed on his life-threatening diagnosis via a robot.
On March 3rd, a nurse took a robot to the 78-year-old Ernest Quintana Intensive Care Unit at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center emergency department in Fremont, California declared their granddaughter, Annalisia Wilharm, to USA Today.
"The nurse came in and said the doctor was going to do his tour and I thought 'OK, it's okay, I'm here,' Wilharm said.
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What she did not expect was what happened after the nurse opened the door.
Wilharm did not see a human being, but a machine with a doctor's video screen. She told USA Today that the machine was there to tell her grandfather that the hospital was running out of effective treatments.
According to KUTV, Wilharm stated that his grandfather could not hear much of what the machine was saying and that they still needed it to repeat themselves. There came a point where she had to tell her grandfather that he was dying because he could not hear what the robot was saying.
In addition to hearing problems, the robot basically told Quintana "You may not be home," Wilharm said.
"Devastated, I was going to lose my grandfather," Wilharm said. "We knew it was going to happen and that he was very sick, but I do not think anyone should get the news that way, it should have been a human being."
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She took a video of the meeting on her mobile phone, which she finally passed on to her mother and grandmother. His mother, Catherine Quintana, was not happy after watching the video.
"If you come to tell us normal news, that's fine, but if you come to tell us that there is no lung left and we want to give you a morphine infusion until you die." it should be done by a human being and not a machine, "said Catherine Quintana at USA Today.
Wilharm wrote to USA Today that his grandfather Ernest died last Tuesday.
"We offer our sincere condolences," said Michelle Gaskill-Hames, vice president of Kaiser Permanente. "We use video technology as an appropriate enhancement for the care team and a way to provide additional expertise in bedside consultation.
Gaskill-Hames added that the visit to the machine was a follow-up to previous visits to the doctor. She says that this has not replaced previous conversations with patients and family members.
"The use of the term" robot "is inaccurate and inappropriate," she said. "This secure video technology is a live conversation with a doctor using tele-video technology and always with a nurse or other doctor present in the room to explain the purpose and operation of the technology. This does not replace or replace face-to-face assessments and ongoing conversations with the patient and family members. "
According to Wilharm, the medical staff told him that the robot was a "policy" and "what we do now".
Family members hope to examine these policies and find out how they report potentially life-threatening information to dying patients.
"I do not want this to happen to anyone else, it just should not happen," said Catherine Quintana.