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Family Upset After a California Hospital Uses Robot to Deliver Death Prognosis

13 March 2019

The man died days after the doctor delivered the news at Kaiser Permanente Medical Centre. "It should have been a human being come in", Wilharm said.

What she didn't expect was what happened after the nurse opened the door. When she attempted to confirm the doctor's advice on next steps and at-home hospice, the doctor said: "you know, I don't know if he's going to get home".

Her grandfather Ernest Quintana, 78, died the next day.

Wilharm didn't see a human being, but a machine with a video screen of a doctor.

Imagine if you will a robot wheeling into your hospital room with very, very bad news. It got to a point where she had to tell her grandfather he was dying because he couldn't hear what the robot was saying.

Michelle Gaskill-Hames, senior vice-president of Kaiser Permanente Greater Southern Alameda County, said in a statement that its policy was to have a nurse or doctor in the room when remote consultations took place.

Annalisia shot the encounter on video, thinking at first that she could share the test results with her family.

Steve Pantilat, chief of the palliative medicine division at University of California, San Francisco, said he did not know the details in the case, but that robot technology had done wonders for patients and their families, some of whom were too far away for in-person visits.

Wilharm wrote to USA Today that her grandfather Ernest died last Tuesday. According to Wilharm, they explained the hospital was small and the robot was used to make rounds at night.

"The evening video tele-visit was a follow-up to earlier physician visits", Ms Gaskill-Hames said in a written response.

However, she also defended the use of the technology, stating that telemedicine does not replace in-person conversations with patients, and that the technology allows the facility to have more specialists to help with patient care. "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".

Wilharm figured the visit was routine.

"We regret falling short in meeting the patient's and family's expectations in this situation and we will use this as an opportunity to review our practices and standards with the care team".

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

Catherine says that she spoke to hospital staff about the robot.

Family Upset After a California Hospital Uses Robot to Deliver Death Prognosis