Crisis threatened life support for cancer patient, 7

While Irish workers, those on welfare, and pensioners have been badly damaged by the Ulster Bank crisis, their problems pale into insignificance compared to those faced by one seven- year-old cancer sufferer.

Olivia Downie, from Aberdeenshire in Scotland, is currently being treated at the Hospital Angeles in Tijuana, Mexico, for a rare and highly aggressive form of cancer called neuroblastoma.

The hospital was due to be paid thousands of euro through a Natwest account affected by the wider RBS Group crisis — of which Ulster Bank is one part — on Friday.

However, when the money did not arrive, the girl’s parents Steven and Lauren were told their daughter’s life-support machine would be switched off if the bill was not settled by yesterday morning. The issue, which was detailed on Natwest’s customer forum, has now been resolved.

Speaking to British media yesterday, a spokes-person for the Families Against Neuroblastoma group said without swift action from the bank once they were informed of the situation, the banking problems could have led to a far bigger crisis for little Olivia’s family.

Among the other issues highlighted by RBS and Ulster Bank customers are those of a cancer patient who “can’t afford the electric meter”, a family of six down to their last “50p”, and irate parents who complained their four-year-old’s birthday was ruined by the incident.

A number of Irish doctors at a conference in Houston, Texas, are also understood to have been effectively left stranded at the weekend by the financial mayhem.

While Ulster Bank customers in Ireland could access funds by turning up with ID at branches, these individuals could not as they were outside the jurisdiction.

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