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California patient, 78, told he is going to die via robot videolink

12 March 2019

"The use of the term "robot" is inaccurate and inappropriate", she exclaimed.

"I look up and there's this robot at the door", she said, adding that the doctor on the screen "looked like he was in a chair in a room somewhere".

This 2009 photo provided by Catherine Quintana shows her father, Ernest Quintana, in Fremont, Calif.

Their family hopes they can review these policies and how they break life-threatening news to dying patients.

The man died days after the doctor delivered the news at Kaiser Permanente Medical Centre. She said her grandfather was also hard of hearing in his right ear and the robot doctor wasn't able to maneuver to that side of the bed. Her daughter shot the cell phone video of the doctor.

"I was so scared for him and disappointed with the delivery", Wilharm said, choking up.

But Annalisia Wilharm said she never expected a doctor would deliver the bad news about her grandfather via a video screen on a robot. Her mother, Catherine, said, "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".

Ernest Quintana died after being told by a doctor who visited him via robot that there were no more treatment options left.

Ms Spangler said she wanted the media to get involved in the situation after Kaiser Permanente said it would "take note" of the family's complaints.

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

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

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

The hospital expressed it "regrets falling short" of family's expectations. "It felt like someone took the air out of me", she said.

California patient, 78, told he is going to die via robot videolink