Did a Young Girl Disconnect her Grandfather’s Life Support to Plug in her Phone’s Charger?

An article reporting that a young girl unplugged a life-support machine to charge her mobile phone was just an international hoax.

  • Published 1 November 2017

Claim

A young girl disconnected her grandfather's life support in order to charge her mobile phone.

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Origin

Repeating a lie doesn’t make it true, even if you are aggregating it on numerous web sites. 

In October 2017, dozens of web sites ran with a fictitious story claiming that a young girl had disconnected her grandfather’s life support in order to charge her phone:

Ally Louia, a 26-year old girl went to the hospital yesterday to visit her grandpa, who was suffering from lung cancer. When the nurse and other family members weren’t present, the young girl decided to disconnect the life support from her grandpa, because she needed to charge her phone.

“Let’s see: my phone was at 1%, which can be described as a critical situation. Besides, my mother asked me to text her how my grandpa was doing right after getting to the hospital, so I had to do it”, Louia said in the defense.

Nearly verbatim copies of this story were published web sites such as Ideas Fun, RachfeedThe Alternative Mind, Elite Readers, and BuzzFlare. It was even picked up and reproduced by the Indonesian outlet Tribunnews.com.

Despite the widespread nature of this story, the event described is purely a work of fiction. This story was originally published on the satire web site 8shit.net on 7 October 2017. That web site states in a “legal notice” that all of its content (except where noted) should be considered fictional:

8Shit is a satire news and humor website. All its content is fiction (except those under the “serious” category) and shouldn’t be taken as real. All references, names and marks or institutions in this web are used as contextual elements, like in any novel or science-fiction story. 

Although the recent round of rumors concerning Ally Louia, her need for an outlet, and her grandpa’s near death experience, originated with the satire web site 8Shit.net, this premise, as well as the featured image, date back to a 2015 Spanish-language article that was published on the satirical web site El Mundo Today. That version featured another name (“Adrián Hinojo”) in the place of Ally Louia.

El Mundo Today carries a disclaimer labeling its content as fiction:

El portal “El Mundo Today” es un diario satírico cuyo único fin es el entretenimiento. Todos sus contenidos son ficción y no se corresponden con la realidad. Todos los referentes, nombres, marcas o instituciones que aparecen en la web se usan como elementos contextuales, como en cualquier novela o relato de ficción.


The portal “El Mundo Today” is a satirical newspaper whose sole purpose is entertainment. All its contents are fiction and do not correspond to reality. All references, names, brands or institutions that appear on the web are used as contextual elements, as in any novel or fictional story.

The fictional El Mundo report may have been based on an even older urban legend which claimed that a janitor killed several people at a hospital in South Africa after he unplugged life support systems to power their floor polisher.