North America

Robot doctor tells patient 'you're dying'

Dr Robot Source: Facebook

A US man was told he didn't have long to live by a doctor appearing on a robot's video screen. The California man died days later.

A family is devastated after their relative was told he didn't have long to live by a doctor appearing on a robot's video screen.

Ernest Quintana, 78, received the news last Monday in a Fremont hospital when a doctor appeared on-screen and told him.

He passed away the following day.

Granddaughter Annalisia Wilharm was with Quintana when a nurse said a doctor would be making his rounds.

She says a robot arrived and she was alone with her grandfather when the doctor remotely told him that his lungs were failing and he would not be going home.

"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. It should've been a human being come in," Ms Wilharm told local TV station KTVU.

As her grandfather had a hearing problem, she had to relay the news, KTVU reported. He passed away on Tuesday.

The Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, where Quintana was being treated, responded in a statement carried by US media in which it offered condolences to the family but disputed the characterisation that the news was delivered by a "robot."

"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," Kaiser Permanente said.

"It does not, and did not, replace ongoing in-person evaluations and conversations with a patient and family members.

"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 how to improve patient experience with tele-video capabilities."

Facebook user Julianne Sprangler, who is a friend of the Ernest Quintana's family, shared a post about the events.

"This is not the way to show value and compassion to a patient ... shame on you Kaiser," she wrote.

"This is the Robot Dr. That came into Cathies Fathers ICU room late Monday night and told him he has no lungs left only option is comfort care, remove the mask helping him breathe and put him on a Moraphine drip til he dies.

"Thank you Fremont Kaiser for your compassion to a man who is 100  percent aware and alert

"That Robot Dr. May be ok for some situations but not to tell a man he is going to die.

"Technology at it's Best? Had I of been there I would have told him to turn around roll his ass out and send in a human!

"He passed at 5:50pm yesterday with his family by his side and the compassion he deserved!

"Rest in peace Ernest (Sonny) Quintana My Pedro partner you will be missed."

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