Medical Emergency Report Feature?


#1

Unfortunately, with the new world that is VR comes the reality that medical emergencies can happen when someone is using a VR headset/suit, while people might be there to witness it. With the way VR tracks people’s movement/body this can result in very frightening scenarios.

The problem is that with the nature of anonymity that comes with VR, this presents a big problem where people might need to get help for someone but are unable to get a hold of anyone. I think it would therefore be a really good idea to implement some sort of emergency call system for these kind of scenarios. Where admins/mods can be notified quickly and perhaps somehow get help for the person in a more timely fashion (but also has serious consequences for anyone abusing this system).

For example, there are a couple of videos out there (e.g. Wikstream and Rogue Shadow) where people are having a seizure in VR chat (Luckily they were alright) and the people around them were unable to do anything. In one of the cases it took an hour to get an admin in to help with the situation while this person was struggling the entire time with everyone watching on helplessly.

I shudder to think of the day someone will die while using VR and people are there to witness it. I think that would be very traumatizing, especially when the person might have survived if there was a way to get help to them faster.

It’s not something I ever thought of before (since before you just wouldn’t know if someone was having an emergency at all or not as visually at the very least) but VR is going to make everything more real, including the bad stuff. This is part of that new reality that I feel needs to be addressed by all online VR developers.


#2

Make sure to post this suggestion in their suggestions thing. You will need to log in with your forum ID etc.

http://roadmap.highfidelity.com/feature-requests


#3

Here’s one bigger issue: Hifi staff are not global admins. No High Fidelity staff has administration to any domains I operate.

The only thing I can think of is to allow domain operators to offer specific permissions to Hifi staff during emergencies only, but even then, that opens potential back doors. A good idea in good faith, but it just won’t happen.

The only thing you can do in those situations is head to Help and mention the incident.


#4

I agree with Flame. The best way to aid in this edge case is to have the user be allowed to put actual emergency medical info in their profile that is only visible to the domain/domain owner/HiFi metaverse if they choose to make that the case, so in the event of an emergency, that info was volunteered on their account so I don’t think it would be an issue for the admins for example to get that ping and take action on their behalf.


#5

I would most likely say only to Hifi for a few reasons.

  1. Liability - If someone had a heart attack or stroke while in my domain and I had access to data that could have helped them, that can make me liable if no action was taken or if action was taken and it wasn’t enough. As cruel as it may sound, I don’t want to be woken up at 2AM in the morning because of someone having a seizure while in my domain and someone reported it, not just for the interruption, but because honestly what am I going to do? If the person is in the EU, I’m in the US, so I can’t do anything, nor should I, as a domain operator, have to suddenly sign some hidden agreement that I need to take action should someone have a medical emergency. I’m not a doctor and there is nothing even I can do from my end.

    And god forbid if someone used it to fake an emergency. Let’s face it, some a*****e will, and I will be very unamused.

  2. Security/Privacy - Not to mention, considering you don’t know who the domain operator may be (spoiler, the person who owns the placename is not always the operator), do you really want to let JoSmoe an unknown parts of the web know what kind of medication or where you live? To say it’d only be released when conditions are met is also a bit hard and even then, what’s stopping someone from simply faking the emergency requirements to have the client be forced to hand over that data.

As stated, if such information was to be stored and accessed, it should only be with High Fidelity or with another trusted organization on a voluntary basis.

Even then, what makes High Fidelity special? This could occur in any VR game, multiplayer or otherwise.

Did you know if you hold down the button on an LED torch that has different light modes, that it may have an SOS mode, where it flashes all lights in the emergency SOS pattern?

I bring that up because, in essence, it sounds like the real people who should be taking action aren’t the software developers, but rather the hardware developers. If there was some kind of ‘panic’ feature built into the headsets, say detecting hard downward fall with the sudden change meaning possible collision with the floor, activating a prompt to ask if the user is okay. Maybe even have a system button response if the button is held down for an extra long period of time (The Vive has a button on the left side of the headset, as an example). It’s not all perfect solutions, but I’m also not an engineer.

In fact, these added functions could then allow software developers to add functionality to their own projects should they feel the need for it. This could include having the user escorted to a panic room of sorts or stop the game with a warning sent to all players in a multiplayer game that the user is having a medical emergency. It would then be up to the primary ‘home software’ (Vive, SteamVR, Oculus Home, etc) to come up with actions to take upon having a situation happen, like sending an SOS email, phone call (headsets have mics, so having an option to call someone immediately could help), or another kind of alarm response.

Having dedicated features for this kind of situation is the best action for both the individual and software developers.


#6

So yeah, you’re right. I think it makes more sense then to just have friends and buddies like anywhere. Relying on people with knowledge of who you are is ideal.

If anything, we can follow the same system that cell phones use now. My Android (well before, IDK about my current phone) had this function where if you hit the power button 3 or 5 times it would take pictures, record your GPS location, and text that all with a messages saying you need help straight to your emergency contacts.

That kind of model makes sense tbh. But it would be mostly user triggerable, so if someone knows they are prone to something like that, they should utilize a system like that if it’s possible for them to pull a combo on the controllers somehow (though, depending on the condition, this may not always be possible).

As for letting others remotely trigger it, I think that would be fine as well. Imagine an email address for example (So HiFi agnostic still) that you can make that when an email is sent with the correct subject line e.g. “Emergency” it will trigger the same function and described. Only trusted friends know this email and this subject line (So spam doesn’t trigger it by accident).

All in all, there are ways, but building it into the system has some pathways, but overall as Flame has outlined and I agree, quite troublesome. It’s easier to let users handle this as is.

This is how it’s been for millions upon millions of gamers around the globe all day every day, if seeing these events in VR is more distressing then I understand that. I agree, but that doesn’t change the reality of the situation. If people really want to help others, they need to make themselves available for help by offering avenues for solution in a time of need.