Nice one Poppyseed, Ive been reading this and thinking, "surely if your Rat is ill and you can't pay for vets bills there is a charity that will take it on and assess its needs then treat it, manage its comfort levles or put it to sleep?". Neglect is abuse and not following every avenue to get the best for an amimal who has come to depend on you for there almost every need, well...
Imagine you had a dependent relative at home very ill and you couldent afford to treat them, so you kept them at home, not exploring free clinics or anything, giving them soup and cuddles-people go to prison for that sort of thing, if I advocated that kind of thing I could never get my registration.
Alot of people come up againts these kind of problems...its how you react to them.
The thing that bothers me, is she's not a new owner. Sky, you should be well aware of the health issues that rats have, and PREPARE for them! They shouldn't be anything new to you. Even as an experienced rat owner who has been owned by and loved rats for over 7 years, I never stop researching health problems, since even if you have an amazing vet, you need to know exactly what's happening and the course of treatment to take.
As much as we'd like to think that feeding them correctly, cleaning often, and helping them at home is enough, it isn't. Rats need vet care, just like any dog or cat does. And they should NEVER be denied it.