A devastated Scottish family is only getting to spend 45 minutes a day with their dying daughter as she battles for her life stranded in a Mexican hospital.
Olivia Downie, from Fraserburgh, was diagnosed with stage four Neuroblastoma three years ago - an aggressive form of childhood cancer that attacks the nervous system and can affect the lungs, skin and brain.
Her family raised thousands of pounds in order to fly her out to Mexico for “last ditch” treatment in a bid to save the youngster. That treatment has now failed and her family wish to get Olivia back to Scotland before she dies.
Following her first cycle of treatment, seven-year-old Olivia took a turn for the worse and doctors are now refusing her permission to fly back to Scotland without specialist medical support.
The seven-year-old’s mother Lauren said: “Me and my husband don’t even feel like we’re alive, we’re just going through the motions. We’re not allowed to lie with her or sit with her in a chair next to her bed. You only get about 15 minutes access three times a day and each time we have to take turns as we’re not supposed to go in together.
“My younger daughter Jessica is the only thing that makes reality real. She needs hugs and fed and kissed and bathed and all the normal things.”
The family is currently in Tijuana where Olivia is being cared for at the Angeles hospital.
Mrs Downie, who is currently pregnant, added her younger daughter was missing her big sister.
“Looking at [Jessica] devastates me because I know she is missing her big sister, they are really close.
“The last time before she had to get put into the induced coma we already thought we had lost her because she was staring into space, her lungs were so full of fluid it stopped the oxygen getting to her brain and she couldn’t hear me and couldn’t feel me touching her – it’s just that simple thing to think your child will be able to hear you say you love them and that was taken away from us, that one simple human thing that we wanted. I’m hoping she will be able to hear when and if she comes off the life support.”
Mrs Downie said there had been no improvement in her daughter’s condition and attempts to remove her life support system had so far failed.
“They tried to take her off of life support two nights ago but when they removed the breathing apparatus she was only able to breath for 15 minutes and then they nearly lost her so they had to sedate her and restart all the life support again,” she said.
“The doctors are trying their best to get her in as stable a condition as possible to try and get her home but they can’t say when that will be so it’s just a waiting game I suppose.
“It’s so difficult because there’s a main nightshift doctor and a dayshift and they are really looking after Olivia really well but they have opposing views on it so we’re really confused. We know it’s not a hopefully situation but I keep looking for that wee bit of positive news and the one who is usually on the nightshift told me that there’s always hope and the other one told me they were keeping her alive in an attempt to get her home.”
She added one of Olivia’s lungs had collapsed last night and that medics were attempting to re-inflate the organ.
“I’m not sitting here thinking Olivia is going to live until she’s 90. I’m hoping even if we can get her home for a few weeks and she can hear us telling her that we love her and hugging her and we can have some quality time with her,” Mrs Downie said.
The family now needs £110,000 if they are to have any hope of being able to cover medical costs and flights to bring their daughter home to die.
On Thursday morning, the total on the youngster’s fundraising website stood at less than £15,000. Following an emotional appeal by her family, however, it has jumped to more than £80,000 with more than 4400 kind donations.
Mrs Downie said: “Where we are we don’t get internet access but we have had a few phone calls telling us. It just shows how kind folk can be and how Olivia has opened people’s eyes to the seriousness of the situation and how caring and supportive the community has been. I don’t expect any numbers to rise and I’m really shocked at that amount.
“It helps us to know there are people at home waiting for us and they want us to come home and they are showing a lot of human compassion for Olivia.”
To help Olivia go to her JustGiving page.
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