The Casualty room was rather quiet in Sion Hospital during my duty…..I was enjoying a moment of solitude…..Then this family walked in…..They were middle class Marathi Brahmin couple with a young girl in tow….Both the parents looked apologetic for having disturbed the doctor.
The mother explained haltingly that her daughters abdomen had started to increase in size. “Any pain or vomiting?” I asked…No, came the answer. No problems with passing stools or urine either…She was all of 10 years old….
I examined her and found that except for painless abdominal distension, she was normal…No spleen or liver, no free fluid…normal bowel sounds..What was it? I could not put a finger on it. One striking thing was that she looked radiant and ethereal and very very beautiful….
These were days before ultrasonogram. So ordered a plain x-ray of abdomen. The technician came bulling into the casualty room looking poleaxed….I too was gobsmacked when I saw the x-rays…There were normal fetal skeletal parts seen on the x-ray! The Ob-Gyn examined her and confirmed that she was 6 months pregnant….
When I broke the news to the parents, the father sank to his knees in shock…..Her mother told me “Doctor, she had her menarche just 6 months back” The mute pain and horror in their eyes was too much to bear….
Then the whole sordid story came out. This young girl was sent to her elder sister’s house to help out as the sister was to deliver her first child…This young girl did not even know the significance of menstruation and was too scared to tell her parents about it…Hers sister’s husband took advantage of this child’s innocence to molest her….
I referred her to our Medical Social Worker to help them out….I could never get rid of the sick horror that I felt for this family that was probably completely shattered…
“Someone must catch hold of that b*****d and Bobbit him” was the opinion of the senior nurse on duty that day….I couldn’t agree more