In Chile, strangers write letters to COVID-struck patients in hospitals to offer a ray of hope

Martinez

In Chile, strangers write letters to COVID-struck patients in hospitals to offer a ray of hope

Social distancing is likely to become the new norm post-lockdown. With social distancing being adopted everywhere to keep the virus at bay, a hospital in Chile found an innovative way to comfort its Coronavirus-stricken patients.

Reportedly, the Chilean hospital has introduced letter writing as a way to comfort the sick people. Referring to this, Nurse Laura Debesa, from the critical care unit of capital Santiago’s San Borja hospital, said she first heard about a similar initiative being adopted in Spain, in which strangers wrote letters to patients starting with the lines: “I don’t know you but…”

Reportedly, when Chile started dealing with the COVID-19, and in retrospect, hospitals started banning visitors inside the premises, Debesa thought a similar initiative might offer a ray of hope to her patients. For this, she first created an email account to receive letters, along with an instruction that stated that the letter should start with the phrase: “Hello, how are you? I am writing to you because I want to keep you company.”

In Chile, strangers write letters to COVID-struck patients in hospitals to offer a ray of hope

In no time, the idea went viral, with local and social media support. When this story was reported, as many as 1700 letters were received that had been written by children, the elderly, and people confined to their homes, from all over the country and from Chileans living abroad.

Debesa recalls how, in many instances, her patients were in tears when they read them. She stated that the response that they have received so far has been so huge, and that they never expected to receive that number of letters. She added how every letter is unique in itself, as everyone has their own way of seeking or seeing things, as per their beliefs. There were a couple of patients, who were admitted in the hospital for quite some time, and they would look forward to the letters each day, she said. Also, in cases in which the patient is seriously ill, the nurses would read the letters to them.

Debesa further added, “Some people don’t believe in anything but send positive energy, others believe in God, others in the strength of the earth. There’s such diversity, it’s lovely to see.”

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