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Bereaved Family Upset Kaiser Used Robot To Tell Father He Would Die

FREMONT (KPIX 5) - The Quintana family was taken by surprise when a robot rolled into the room at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Fremont. 

Seventy-eight-year-old Ernest Quintana had chronic lung disease. He was rushed to the hospital on Sunday. On Monday, he learned that he didn't have much longer to live. 

"It was giving his results of his CT scan, and basically telling him he had no lungs left and the only thing he could recommend would be comfort care," said daughter Catherine Quintana. 

Catherine Quintana had just left her father's bedside when this occurred. Her daughter shot the cell phone video of the doctor. Ernest is hard of hearing in one ear, and the robot couldn't reach the other side of the bed, so his granddaughter had to deliver the news. 

"It was very matter of fact if you listen to it, I didn't see any bedside manner in it," said Catherine Quintana. 

The next day, Ernest Quintana passed away. He was a family man, and worked for Gerber Baby for 27 years, as a mechanic. 

Catherine isn't against the technology. But she says she received no notice that it was part of hospital policy.

"I don't think it belongs in an ICU, I don't think it belongs to critical patients that are going to die. It's not meant for that, it's meant for more casual medical information," she added.   

Kaiser Permanent sent a statement to KPIX 5 that reads in part:

"This is a highly unusual circumstance... We don't support or encourage the use of technology to replace the personal interactions between our patients and their care teams -- we understand how important this is for all concerned, and regret that we fell short of the family's expectations."

Kaiser said they are continuously learning how to best integrate technology into patient interactions and will use this experience as an opportunity to make improvements.

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