California man told he was dying by doctor via video link

'Elderly man told he's going to die via video-link'

The patient, Ernest Quintana, died two days after arriving at the hospital, according to the Chicago Tribune - but the impersonal manner in which his doctor delivered the news to him and his family illustrate the unusual ways that medicine is changing as technology and automation make their way into the hospital system.

A doctor in California told a patient he was going to die using a robot with a video-link screen.

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

This is not the way to show value and...

"It did not replace previous conversations with patient and family members and was not used in the delivery of the initial diagnosis", she said. What they were not anticipating was that his prognosis would be delivered remotely by a doctor who was many miles away and hard for the patient to hear. "We knew that this was coming and that he was very sick". She said that after the visit, he gave her instructions on who should get what and made her promise to look after her grandmother.

"He just got the worst news of his life without his wife of 58 years".

Wilharm told CNN that her family was under no illusions about her grandfather's condition.

She later said it was "an extremely frustrating situation", and "an atrocity of how care and technology are colliding".

Posting a picture of the robot's screen, Ms Spangler wrote on Facebook: "This is the Robot Dr that came into Cathie's father's ICU room late Monday night and told him he has no lungs left, only option is comfort care". It "allows a small hospital to have additional specialists such as a board-certified critical care physician available 24/7, enhancing the care provided and bringing additional consultative expertise to the bedside".

"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", Gaskill-Hames added.

Wilharm figured the visit was routine.

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

"We will use this as an opportunity to review how to improve patient experience with tele-video capabilities", she added.

Hospital officials say the technology doesn't replace in-person conversations with the patient and loved ones.

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