Over in California, one family is livid with the modern health system, as a robot doctor informed them that their elderly relative will not survive.
There are but two constants in modern America: the health system is always going to be bad and robots will eventually push everyone to the unemployment line. Overnight, the not-too-distant future inched a little bit closer when one family were told that their elderly relative would not survive…via a telepresence robot.
“You might not make it home,” the doctor at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center told the patient, from the unblinking screen on a moveable monitor. Clearly, it was a wheely bad move, as the granddaughter of the (now dead) patient, Ernest Quintana, castigated the hospital, stating “I was going to lose my grandfather, we knew that this was coming and that he was very sick. But I don’t think somebody should get the news delivered that way. It should have been a human being come in.”
The hospital assumed some responsibility for the incident in a statement. But it neglected to mention what circumstances its doctors use these robots to deliver what news to whom. “Our health care staff receive extensive training in the use of telemedicine, but video technology is not used as a replacement for in-person evaluations and conversations with patients,” reads the statement, which was published in full by a local television station, KTVU.
“This is a highly unusual circumstance. We regret falling short in meeting the patient’s and family’s expectations in this situation and we will use this as an opportunity to review our practices and standards with the care team.”
I mean, bad news is bad news. Does it really matter if a computer tells you that abuelito will not be coming home?