A man struggling with chronic lung disease was given a devastating diagnosis – by a robot.
Ernest Quintana, 78, was admitted to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in the San Francisco Bay area of California last weekend.
His family were left devastated after a robot entered his room to give him the bad news that he had just days to live.
Mr Quintana died on Tuesday after suffering breathing difficulties.
A few days earlier a robot rolled into his intensive care unit, where a doctor popped up on video link to inform him he would soon be dead.
The ploy has been slammed as insensitive by Mr Quintana’s family – who thought the robot was just making a routine visit.
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.”
Mr Quintana granddaughter Annalisia Wilharm caught some of the interaction on video.
“This guy cannot breathe, and he’s got this robot trying to talk to him,” she said.
“This guy is telling him, ‘So we’ve got your results back, and there’s no lung left. There’s no lung to work with.'”
She claims said she had to repeat what the doctor said to her grandfather because he was hard of hearing in his right ear and the machine was unable to get to the other side of the bed.
Michelle Gaskill-Hames, senior vice-president of Kaiser Permanente Greater Southern Alameda County, said that hospital policy was to have a nurse or doctor in the room when remote consultations took place and acknowledged it had fallen short of the family’s expectations.
“We will use this as an opportunity to review how to improve patient experience with tele-video capabilities,” she said.