Friday, 22 March, 2019

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

A doctor at a California hospital offered a grim prognosis via video link upsetting a patient's family A doctor at a California hospital offered a grim prognosis via video link upsetting a patient's family
Anna Jefferson | 12 March, 2019, 18:28

Ms Wilharm said a robot then arrived in the room and the doctor appeared on a video screen.

"Our physicians and nurses were in regular, in-person communication with the patient and family about his condition from the moment he entered our hospital", she added.

Wilharm didn't see a human being, but a machine with a video screen of a doctor.

Daughter Catherine Quintana says the family is also upset because her father had trouble hearing the doctor through the robot's speaker forcing Wilharm to relay the bad news.

As her grandfather had a hearing problem, she had to relay the news, KTVU reported.

Granddaughter Annalisia Wilharm, 33, was alone with Quintana when a nurse popped in to say a doctor would be making his rounds.

Wilharm said her grandfather, a family man who kept every childhood drawing he ever gave her, deserved better.

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"The next thing I know he's telling him, "I got these MRI results back and there's no lungs left, there's nothing to work with".

A septuagenarian Californian learned of his impending death through a video link, outraging his family, which protested the dehumanized and robotic way in which the news was delivered. "It should have been a human being come in".

Julianne Spangler, a friend of Mr Quintana's daughter, posted a photo of the robot on Facebook and said it "told [Mr Quintana] he has no lungs left only option is comfort care, remove the mask helping him breathe and put him on a morphine drip until he dies".

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

Senior vice president of the Kaiser Permanente Greater Southern Alameda County, Michelle Gaskill-Hames, has defended the use of the machine, saying that it's usually used for follow-up visits where an initial face-to-face visit was made. 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". She said it did not replace previous conversations with patients and family members.

"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 to explain the objective and function of the technology".

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