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California man learns he’s dying, from doctor on robot video

March 10, 2019 05:14 AM

COURTESY HT MARCH 10

California man learns he’s dying, from doctor on robot video
SANFRANCISCO: Ernest Quintana’s family knew he was dying of a lung disease when he was taken by ambulance to a hospital.

But they were devastated when a robot machine rolled into his room in the ICU and a doctor told the 78-year-old patient by video call he would die within days.

“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 said on Friday. Quintana died on Tuesday, two days after being taken to the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center emergency department, 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. Ernest Quintana’s family knew he was dying of a 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 ICU that night and a doctor told the 78-year-old patient by video call he would die within days.

“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 on Friday.

Ernest Quintana died on 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 televisit was a follow-up to earlier physician visits,” GaskillHames 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.

Granddaughter Annalisia Wilharm, 33, was alone with Quintana when a nurse popped in to say a doctor would be making his rounds. A robot rolled in and a doctor appeared on the video screen.

 
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