The prognosis wasn't necessarily a surprise-the 79-year-old Ernest Quintana had been gravely ill and was hospitalized at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center's emergency department in Fremont.
A septuagenarian Californian learnt of his impending death through a video link, outraging his family, who protested against the dehumanised and robotic way in which the news was delivered.
"Had I been there I would have told him to turn around, roll his a** out and send in a human."
The elderly man was suffering from symptoms associated with the chronic lung disease that would rob him of his life. But they're angered by the way the situation was handled and how the news was delivered. "I just figured it was routine", Wilharm said Saturday.
Kaiser Permanente Senior Vice-President Michelle Gaskill-Hames issued a statement following the passing of Mr. Quintana nearly a week later.More news: Packers To Sign Safety Adrian Amos
What she didn't expect was what happened after the nurse opened the door.
"I was going to lose my grandfather", she told KTVU.
Soon after a robot with a video screen came into the room, accompanied by a nurse who remained silent. She was astonished by what the doctor started saying.
As her grandfather had a hearing problem, she had to relay the news, KTVU reported. What they were not anticipating was that his prognosis would be delivered remotely by a doctor who was many miles away and hard for the patient to hear.
"So he's saying that maybe your next step is going to hospice at home", Wilharm is heard saying in a video she recorded of the visit. "We knew that this was coming and that he was very sick".
She said after the visit, he gave her instructions on who should get what and made her promise to look after her grandmother.More news: Hundreds of Russians protest in opposition to web restrictions
Wilharm wrote to USA Today that her grandfather Ernest died last Tuesday. "Our point is the delivery (of the news)".
Quintana's granddaughter, Annalisia Wilharm, was there when the telepresence robot arrived.
"The evening video tele-visit was a follow-up to earlier physician visits", Gaskill-Hames said in a written response.
"The use of the term "robot" is inaccurate and inappropriate", she exclaimed.
"This secure video technology is a live conversation with a physician using tele-video technology, and always with a nurse or other physician in the room to explain the goal and function of the technology", Gaskill-Hames added. "We use video technology as an appropriate enhancement to the care team and a way to bring additional consultative expertise to the bedside".
The hospital says it "regrets falling short" of the family's expectations.More news: Beautiful Kate and Meghan steal the show at Commonwealth Day service