Staff at a Cork hospital discovered €60,000 in cash attached to a male patient’s body when he reported for surgery – as the elderly man was too afraid to leave his life savings at home or in a bank.
Irish police have confirmed that the man was so scared his house would be robbed while he attended hospital for a necessary operation that he brought his cash with him.
His fear of robbery and a mistrust of Ireland’s ailing banks led him to the drastic action according to officers.
Medical staff at the unnamed hospital have told the Irish Independent that such discoveries are not uncommon.
One elderly woman recently presented herself for treatment at an accident and emergency unit with €5,000 sewn into her clothing.
The police who revealed the story said that that the financial crisis and the collapse of the banks has exacerbated the existing fears of elderly people.
“The tragedy is that some people think the only option they have left is to keep large sums of cash on their person,” one officer told the Independent.
“It is an open secret that people have been withdrawing their life savings and hiding the money in their homes. There has been an increase in the number of burglaries with many elderly living in isolated areas targeted.
“Of even greater concern is the fact that elderly people are equally distrusting of relatives as they are of financial institutions.”
The paper also reports that the trend of elderly people carrying large sums of cash has resulted in a spate of hospital-based thefts.
Police have issued an appeal to elderly people to follow simple safety rules if they are determined to carry large sums of cash on their person.
“If they are insisting on bringing their life savings with them rather than putting the money in a bank or credit union or even placing it with trusted relatives, they should inform hospital staff of what they are doing,” said a police spokesman.
“That way proper arrangements can be put in place. Under no circumstances whatsoever should people bring large sums of cash into hospital and leave it undeclared in their clothing or their personal bags.”