I got approached by two patients today, they lay on the floor of the hospital. This is not a new thing. People sit on the floor all the time. There isn’t enough seats sometimes and the Indian habit of the lotus position lends itself to sitting on the floor. The young woman pulls herself up and starts crying.
“Doctor! I have no food, I came here to take my mother to the hospital. Just look at her foot! (I look, it’s a diabetic ulcer and it needs to come off). We don’t have enough money for even a cup of coffee (South Indians are bigger fans of coffee).”
The ulcer is nearly 20 cm in length. It’s clear that her foot will need amputation some time soon.
She couldn’t get care for her foot and needed diabetic shoes to help her walk. All of this costed money.
This woman wept and it hurt to see someone like that.
So I gave her my month’s luxury budget so she could buy the things she needed and left feeling my heart grow a size and feeling like I had done something to help. I had also gotten her free treatment for the foot.
Less than 5 steps later I get told by one of the ward attenders that she is a con woman, who tricks the charity doctors into helping her. She is a psychiatry patient from a fairly well off family who pretends to be poor to get money out of people. I didn’t believe him.
Until I saw her pull off the same stunt in a ward.
Sigh. Such is the price of having a heart…