California Kaiser Permanente hospital uses robot to tell patient of his imminent death

On Sunday, March 3, 2019, suffering from breathing difficulties, 78-year-old Ernest Quintana was taken to the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center emergency department in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Fremont, California.

That night in intensive care, granddaughter Annalisia Wilharm, 33, was alone with Quintana when a nurse popped in to say a doctor would be making his rounds.

Instead of a doctor, a robot rolled in and a doctor appeared on the video screen.

Annalisia was shocked by what the on-screen doctor said. Annalisia recounted that her grandfather “cannot breathe, and he’s got this robot trying to talk to him, saying: “So we’ve got your results back, and there’s no lung left. There’s no lung to work with.”

Annalisia said she had to repeat what the on-screen doctor said to her grandfather because he was hard of hearing in his right ear and the robot was unable to get to the other side of the bed.

Ernest Quintana died two days after he’d been admitted to ER.

Quintana’s family had known he would die of his chronic lung disease, but were not expecting to receive news of his imminent death via a robot instead of a doctor delivering the news in person.

Daughter Catherine Quintana 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.”

The hospital has defended its use of the robot, insisting that the diagnosis came after several physician visits and that it did not replace “previous conversations with the patient and family members”.

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 to explain the purpose and function of using the robot.

Annalisia said her grandfather, “a family man who kept every childhood drawing he ever gave her, deserved better.” (CBS News) She said that after the robot visit, he gave her instructions on who should get what and made her promise to look after her grandmother. “He was such a sweet guy,” she said.

Sources: CBS News; Sky News.

H/t MCA

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Dan
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Dan

Next it’ll be “telemedicine” consultations from a “doctor” in a call center in India reading test results off a screen. These robots almost redefine “medical Taylorism,” a very real human engineering science in which the number of billable doctor contacts are maximized for money, now to the level of such revealing callousness. Every detail of our doctor and dentist visits are functions of modernized, sophisticated time-and-motion studies, factually modeled on Toyota’s assembly line procedures, with money obviously being our doctor and dentist’s number one priority. And please, don’t anyone embarrass himself by saying his doctor or dentist is different for… Read more »

marble
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marble

I want a second opinion! Send me another tin man!
I once (forty five years ago) worked for a man who walked a robot (not his own) into a swimming pool.

Recynd77
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Recynd77

The longer I live, and the more “complicated” my husband’s health becomes, the more I see the wisdom behind the Christian Scientist’s stance on medicine. Other than muscle relaxers and opiate pain killers (which are harder and harder to come by), “medicine”—and the doctors who so freely prescribe them—do far more harm than good. At the risk of stirring controversy, I refuse nearly all annual testing: no mammograms, colonoscopies, or body scans for me, thank you. I concede to a blood panel every four or five years, and an occasional echocardiogram to check the progress of my leaky heart valves,… Read more »

Auntie Lulu
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Auntie Lulu

Frankly, I don’t call this appropriate “telemedicine,” I call it down right ghoulish. It is beyond the pale that they cannot send in a “real” living, breathing doctor to deliver the bad news. Well, thats Kaiser for you. My Mother was hospitalized at our Kaiser here in Portland back in 1980. She had a blood clot in her leg . . . rather than catherize her, they let her get out of bed to use the bedside commode. The blood clot dislodged, and went to her lungs, and she was gone in four minutes. Kaiser was the only medical facility… Read more »

MyBrainHurts
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MyBrainHurts

I’m totally with you. I don’t go to a doctor unless I think I’m going to die anyway. My 99 year old mother has been battling the flu and pneumonia since February 1. The “care” she got in the hospital nearly killed her because of their so-called “protocols.” They discharged her with a raging case of pneumonia which they did not tell us about, nor was it on her discharge papers. It was diagnosed at the skilled nursing unit she went to for physical therapy. As of this weekend she is recovering but not because of any medical treatment she… Read more »

Steven Broiles
Member

WE ARE ERNEST QUINTANA. THIS is what A.I. is all about: Where they cannot simply stamp out our common humanity, they will insult it at every twist and turn they can find. Annalisa said her “grandfather deserved better.” We all deserve better, and we have to get the word out and go after these A.I. promoters and transhumanists before they destroy us all. We have to understand a number of things. First and foremost, we have to simply accept that almost everything we’ve been taught is a BIG FAT LIE. There is no Evolution: It’s a LIE. There is no… Read more »

Patrick
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Patrick

Why did he give his granddaughter all of his childhood drawings?

CalGirl
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CalGirl

Dang! Worse than I even thought…and I’ve thought it’s been bad w/Kaiser since even before the “Obamacare Gods” came to them. I pay over $12,000 a year to Kaiser for my health coverage through my employer, who offers Kaiser exclusively. In the last 13 years…I’ve seen a Dr. by appt. maybe 5 times…once for a minor illness…and the rest for screenings like mammograms, pap, etc. I’ve done some other things through outreach…like they give flu shots at my school so I don’t have to go anywhere….and have sent in at least one poop test for colon cancer via mail. The… Read more »

Lana
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Lana

This reminds me of the old Woody Allen movie from the 1970’s ” Sleeper” where he went to a confessional to confess to a robot, his dog was a robot, and you received an orgasm by stepping into the Orgasmitron instead of with another human being. We’re there I guess; robot doctors, plastic sex dolls and robot pets. https://www.cnn.com/2016/10/03/health/robot-pets-loneliness/
The confessionals won’t be far behind. Last time I went into a Catholic Church they had fake ” candles” that you tapped on the top of a plastic dome and a light bulb came on.

TrailDust
Editor

Wow!