By Riyaz Lakhani
In Dr. Birbal

Behind the Ghunghat: A Case of Medical Deception

Dr. Birbal was a seasoned physician with a keen eye for detail. He was presented with the case of Priya, a 26-year-old woman who had been admitted to Shree Sai Hospital for hypotension. According to Priya’s statement, she had been experiencing low blood pressure, vomiting, dizziness, and headaches for the past two days. She had consulted with Dr. Ashutosh and had taken medication on March 21st. Priya’s HB was low, and she was experiencing weakness.

Dr. Birbal reviewed the case details and noticed some inconsistencies. Priya had been given one unit of blood transfusion, and three more units were scheduled to be transfused. She was under the care of Dr. Rameshwar and was admitted to a single room (non-AC), room number 6.

Dr. Birbal also noticed that the medication given to Priya was suspicious. Frusamide Inj were prescribed, but it was unclear why a diuretic was given to a patient who was experiencing hypotension. Additionally, he noticed that the ulgel syrup bottle was sealed even after a day of admission, whereas in the case of genuine complaints of vomiting/hyperacidity, the syrup should have been given at least 3 – 4 times in the first day. He also found discrepancies in the hospital documents, and no signature was provided for the test reports.

However, what stood out the most to Dr. Birbal was Priya’s attire. She was covering her head with her saree/pallu, which is a cultural norm in many parts of India. It is typically done as a sign of respect towards in-laws or elder family members. Dr. Birbal was quick to realize that this cultural detail might hold some significance in the case.

After some investigation, Dr. Birbal discovered that Priya’s admission to the hospital was for a reason other than vomiting and hypotension. In fact, the admission for hypotension was just a cover-up for something else. He also found out that Priya was from a small village, and according to the social norms prevalent there, a woman covering her head with her saree/pallu is usually an indication that she is married.

This led Dr. Birbal to ask Priya about her marital status, and eventually, her gynecological and obstetric history. Priya and her relatives were hesitant to share this information, which raised further suspicion. However, Dr. Birbal was able to put together the pieces of the puzzle and deduced that Priya was admitted to the hospital for the treatment of severe anemia, which must have been chronic for 4-6 months and pre-existing to the policy.

Dr. Birbal’s ability to pick up on these cultural cues and connect the dots that led to a more accurate diagnosis shows his skill as a physician and his understanding of the social context in which his patients live. It also highlights the importance of taking a holistic approach to medicine and considering all aspects of a patient’s life, not just their medical symptoms.

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