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Family Shocked to Get Grim News by 'Robot' Video

They were devastated by how the hospital handled it
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 9, 2019 4:45 PM CST
This 2009 photo provided by Catherine Quintana shows her father, Ernest Quintana, in Fremont, Calif.   (Catherine Quintana via AP)

(Newser) – Ernest Quintana's family knew he was dying of chronic lung disease when he was taken by ambulance to a hospital, unable to breathe. But they were devastated when a robot machine rolled into his room in the intensive care unit that night and a doctor told the 78-year-old patient by video call he would likely die within days, the AP reports. "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," his daughter Catherine Quintana said Friday. Ernest Quintana died Tuesday, two days after being taken to the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center emergency department in Fremont.

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. But the hospital also defended its use of telemedicine and said its policy is to have a nurse or doctor in the room at the time of remote consultations. "The evening video tele-visit was a follow-up to earlier physician visits," Gaskill-Hames said in a written response. "It did not replace previous conversations with patient and family members and was not used in the delivery of the initial diagnosis." Hospital officials say the technology doesn't replace in-person conversations with the patient and loved ones. Click for the full story.

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