Technology can't replace doc at bedside

Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Charlie Butts (

elderly patientTechnology has a rightful place in medicine but it cannot and should not replace the heart of a caring doctor, says a longtime physician.

One saddening case in point is Ernest Quintana, who was suffering from a chronic lung disease when he was rushed to a California hospital. It was there that he learned hospice was the next step from a doctor live-streaming from a remote care robot.

According to the story from Live Action, Quintana is hard of hearing and the robot could not go to the other side of the bed so he could hear. So his daughter, Catherine Quintana, had to relay the news.

To relay “normal news” to a patient is one thing, she later told the media, “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.”

hospital surgeryAsked for a response to that incident, Dr. David Stevens of the Christian Medical & Dental Association tells OneNewsNow that medicine cannot be done “by proxy” with bad news conveyed via a video screen.

“Robots don't have empathy. Robots don't have compassion. Robots don't touch,” he says. “That's where the real caring part of medicine is and that's what people value more than anything else.”

Stevens says there is a place for robotic technology, such as the da Vinci surgical system that helps surgeons make precise incisions by reacting to their hand movements.

But when people are suffering, he adds, there needs to be a doctor at the bedside.

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