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Author Topic: Medicos, help out a poor family?
Member # 3772

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I was recently in Calcutta and there met a desperately poor girl whose sister-in-law is in homemade traction. There's no way to emphasize how poor they are -- their two-room house is walled in newspaper, and floods during monsoon season -- but they sought out what medical help they could afford and she's been bedridden in the years since.

She somehow hurt her spine -- possibly by carrying burdens on her head -- and has a traction harness on that seems medically dubious to me. If anyone can help her, please send me an e-mail and I'll forward everything on to them.

Skiagram report

Lumbo-sacral Spine:

Skiagrams AP and lateral views show mild narrowing of Intervertebral space between L4-L5 vertebrae and loss of lordotic curvature in the lumbar spine -- suggesting early degenerative changes.

No obvious bony pathology is noted in the sacro-iliac articulations of either side.


I also have doctors' notes, but I have trouble reading them. I'll translate letter-by-letter what I think they say, and attach the images for medicos who might be more familiar with both doctors' handwriting and doctors' vocabulary.

Note #1

(R) lltrigl numb une
L S Counsult
T. Thioquiant 4 mg
BDPC x 2wk
T. Mouon CR ODPC
x 2 wk
T. Pantomed 40
ODAC x 2wk


Note #2

L.B.D. (R) ST
region tender
(R) 1 limb numb

veuriekimd -- lwl
alternate day
x 10 such
T. Myuspaz fuerle
BDPC x 2wk


Note #3
Lumber Spond.
Meganeueuou -- 1wl
im alternate day
x 10 such
Pelvic traction -- 12.5 7
12.5 Uni -- Ghn/dy
Cenp Neugerlser -- 75 mg
OD HS x 1 ui
7 ab Myuepaz furle
RDPC x 2ul




If you can, please help with some kind of diagnosis. The traction belt looks too high for a lumbar injury, to me -- isn't it simply pulling down on her injured area? This is the time when you'll need to make a rough diagnosis without referring her on to a doctor -- she's done all she can, with what few resources she has, and your guesses are likely the best medical opinions she has available.

And thank you!

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Member # 7625

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Would there be a way to refer this person to a charity or otherwise facilitate financial assistance instead of requesting medical advice to be implemented by laypeople?
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Member # 3772

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Not really. I gave her what money I could -- and if anyone here's interested in donating, I'll give you contact details for a trustworthy friend of mine there -- but it's hard to put into words how incredibly poor Calcutta is. It's a miracle this woman got to see a doctor at all, and I doubt he was a particularly good one. While there, I ran into a lot of homeopaths claiming medical credentials. And while her treatment's obviously not working, I'm not sure it's even properly applied.

What few medical connections I have are her best shot. I understand the reluctance anyone might have to diagnose from afar, but nobody's holding any licenses hostage. She could really use quality advice, at least as suggestions for her doctor if she manages to see one again. She's twenty-seven, and she's been in traction for years. For the love of god, help her if you can.

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Member # 4859

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Originally posted by Lalo:
I understand the reluctance anyone might have to diagnose from afar

Actually, I don't think you do. Setting aside the legal issues, my guess is no doctor worth the name would take the risk that any suggestion they might make in this situation is as likely to cause harm as help. Possibly more likely, actually.
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Member # 923

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From the scripts, it looks like she was likely seen by Dr. Rathindranath Haldar, professor and head of the Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Department at the Calcutta National Medical College. I can't imagine I could add anything to the advice of an orthopedic specialist who is head of a medical school department -- and who has actually seen the patient -- but you could try recontacting him. He might recognize his own handwriting on the notes. It's entirely possible something about the plan was misunderstood or misconveyed.

Bone and Joint Decade - India
lists his contact information as "rathinhaldar@yahoo.com," with phone number as "Res: 033 - 24313607." That is not listed under "Off" (presumably "office"), as some of the other physicians' phone numbers are, so I would pursue the email route thoroughly before resorting to that phone number as an absolute last result. If she is his patient, you would want to remain on his good side.

Other than that, as rivka notes (thanks, rivka), I would be less than useful to you.


PS: If I were to email in this situation, I would keep it short, sweet, and businesslike. He is surely a very busy man, and I'd think the less, the better, to start with. 2-3 sentences to describe her condition, and attach one photo (respect for bandwith, mailbox capacity) of one of the notes. He can ask for more later.

But, of course, you must do as you see best.


PPS: Have you spoken with the Calcutta Rescue Organization yet?

[ February 10, 2008, 10:31 AM: Message edited by: ClaudiaTherese ]

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