People Are Dying Alone: Charitable Man in Madrid, Spain, collects Hundreds of Telephones to Donate to Patients Isolated in Quarantine

Image of wildfire in Guardamar del Segura. Credit: [email protected]

Ignacio Ibáñez has managed to acquire hundreds of smartphones which he will donate to coronavirus patients in Madrid who are completely alone during isolation.

IGNACIO is a Madrid native who has spent the last few days working on this endeavour and yesterday, March 25, a shipment of 492 phones arrived at his house.

“My wife works in a hospital in Madrid as sanitary staff. When I speak to her, he explains that one of the primary problems is that people are alone”, he recalls, “In some medical centres there are no visits whatsoever, whoever is hospitalised is alone, if they die, they die alone.”

A few days ago, a surgeon who works at the Hospital La Princesa, Cristina Marin, told her family to write letters to patients letting them know they could get through this and to lift their spirits. Marin similarly identified the same problem, loneliness. “The patients are in brutal isolation. They are completely alone, separated from their families. I have spoken to the doctors who have assured me if we receive anonymous letters from people for the patients, they will receive them”, she said.

The surgeon’s message caused a flood of letters to come in as approximately 35,000 letters were received in the first few days. This is when inspiration struck for Ignacio, who thought of collecting and donating phones so the patients can keep in constant contact.

He explained that patients might not always have their phones on them when they come in.  “A common case is: You call, you tell them your symptoms, they come to your house, and you directly enter isolation. Much of the time you leave with what you have on you. Other people go to the emergency room and test positive and also stay there. You may have your phone but then you have no charger,” he explains, “Then there’s the elderly people who don’t take their phones and then have no way to communicate with the outside world”.

Ignacio used a contact at LG to secure a donation of 492 phones and another contact in Orange to receive a donation of 492 SIM cards. Once all the pieces arrive he and his wife will set up a little workstation at home, opening all the telephones and installing the SIM cards, where they will be left to the professionals at the hospital to give out to patients.


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Written by

Laura Kemp

Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]


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