ICU iPads in Memory of Our Dad We Lost to COVID-19

We lost our dad, Donald J. Spitko, on April 20th after a 36 day battle from COVID-19. He was hospitalized and placed on a ventilator for 28 days. During that time we weren't allowed to see him or be by his side due to the strict no-visitor policy in most hospitals. He fought a courageous battle against all odds but sadly the virus never left his lungs.

Our dad was a proud veteran of the US Marine Corps. He did not deserve to die alone and in isolation away from his family. He was kind, loving and selfless. He would go to the ends of the earth for his wife, family and the people he loved… and even complete strangers that needed his help. Our “old man” (as we lovingly called him) touched so many lives along his journey.

During the time our dad was hospitalized our only communication was with his ICU nurses via a phone call. But we knew in our hearts that his time on this earth was limited. We “phoned” our dad at least once a day and “spoke” to him every evening to say goodnight but something was missing. It was the face-to-face interaction we so desperately needed.  We had to see that our words were being heard.  We had to see his face one last time. We had to say our goodbyes… not by phone. The hospital suggested we use an iPad. However there was only one working iPad on the floor which caused a few setbacks. We had to share it with the other families on the floor. The battery life would be low after repeated use and required time to reboot. We also had to set-up specific times in advance when the FaceTime would take place to make sure the one iPad was fully charged. 

A simple device as an iPad had allowed our family to communicate with our dad during this pandemic when social distancing had become a norm. We watched our dad take his last breath over an iPad but we feel our last goodbyes were heard and it allowed us the peace of mind knowing that he was not in pain at the time of his passing. Our dad, against all odds, took one breath after another for almost 7 hours after our family made the heartbreaking decision to turn the ventilator off. Daddy, you “listened” to all of our stories and waited until your last child came over to the iPad to say goodnight when you decided that it was your time to go.

Every family should have the opportunity to be with their loved ones during this pandemic. We need more iPad’s in our ICU and other departments as a means of communication with our loved ones… especially during these uncertain times. Our goal is to raise enough money to distribute iPads (in memory of our dad) throughout our local hospitals so that our voices can be heard... and our faces can be seen....

No donation is too small and any amount is greatly appreciated. All donations will go directly to the purchase of iPads for our local hospitals in Montgomery County (beginning with Einstein Medical Center Montgomery in East Norriton)… and then to our neighboring county hospitals. Our goal is to keep giving until all families are able to communicate with their loved ones.  

Rest In Peace Daddy… until we see you again. #SpitkoStrong

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Please watch, read and share our full story via links below:

FOX 04/21/20:
https://www.fox29.com/news/procession-held-in-east-norriton-in-memory-of-veteran-who-passed-away-from-covid-19

NBC 04/30/20:
https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/coronavirus/saying-goodbye-over-an-ipad-family-recounts-fathers-coronavirus-battle/2381053/

WHYY 04/28/20:
https://whyy.org/articles/their-father-died-of-covid-19-at-the-hospital-where-they-worked-they-still-werent-allowed-to-see-him/

DE Governor John Carney 04/28/20 (skip to 2 :10 mins):
https://youtu.be/SykiMxW9MvA?t=128

NBC 05/05/20:
https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/coronavirus/nurses-stepping-in-for-loved-ones-amid-pandemic/2386078/

Katie Couric Newsletter 05/06/20:
https://medium.com/wake-up-call/a-beloved-father-of-six-and-veteran-lost-to-covid-19-6cff6d9abfbb

PBS39 (WLVT) 05/11/20:
https://www.wlvt.org/blogs/montgomery/after-father-dies-at-hospital-where-they-worked-local-family-provides-ipads-to-icu-patients/

PBS NewsHour w/ Judy Woodruff 05/15/20:
https://youtu.be/mba1sCC1vfk

NBC 05/20/20:
https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/coronavirus/family-of-man-who-died-from-covid-19-donates-ipads-to-help-other-families-say-goodbye/2402895/

YDR/USA Today 07/09/20:
https://www.ydr.com/story/news/2020/07/09/five-members-family-test-positive-coronavirus-father-dies-family-donates-ipads-to-hospitals/5357839002/

Donations

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  • Michele Rouco 
    • $100 
    • 1 mo
  • Carl & Debbie Fritz 
    • $500 (Offline)
    • 1 mo
  • Jim Kelly 
    • $25 
    • 1 mo
  • Sandy Green 
    • $25 
    • 2 mos
  • Michael Warrick 
    • $75 
    • 2 mos
See all

Organizer

Sharon Spitko 
Organizer
Norristown, PA
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