Little did a man from one of the villages in Odisha suspect that while he was being treated for his son he would discover his wife’s 20-year love affair with a man from the neighborhood.
His son, now 18, suffered from frequent joint pain a few months ago and he took him for several diagnostic tests in a town near his village. When initial reports showed no conclusive medical complaints, he decided to take him to Delhi and consulted doctors at Fortis Hospital in Gurgaon.
After a test known as high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), the adolescent was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia that requires a bone marrow transplant.
Sickle cell anemia is a hereditary disease that is passed on to a child from both mother and father. According to medical science, a child will only have this disease if both parents have a milder version of the disease known as the sickle cell trait.
To explain it medically, a human cell, which is a tiny building block of the body, has 23 pairs of chromosomes. While 22 pairs of these chromosomes are identical to XX in both men and women, the 23rd pair is different. For men it is XX, for women XY. They are also called sex chromosomes.
So if the father’s X chromosome and the woman’s X chromosome are defective, it means they both have characteristics of sickle cell anemia, which is not a disease. 25 percent of the children of such parents suffer from sickle cell anemia. In such children, both chromosomes XX are defective.
“If a child is diagnosed with sickle cell anemia, it indicates that both parents should have a defect in a pair of chromosomes. It is medically impossible for one parent to have a defective chromosome and the other not, but their offspring have this disease, ”said Dr. Rahul Bhargava, head of the haemotology department at Fortis Gurgaon, who cared for the patient.
He added, “When the teenager was diagnosed with sickle cell disease, we decided to ask his parents to have an HPLC test just to confirm it. His mother had a sickle cell trait, which means she has a defective chromosome, but the father did not have such a disease. ”
Dr. Bhargava was surprised and asked the parents to take the test again. The result was the same for the second time. After the teenager recognized and understood the medical reason, he told his father. The father then barbecued the mother, who confessed to having an affair with a neighbor 20 years ago.
Her confessions were re-confirmed after the father found out that the man his wife was having an affair with has children with sickle cell anemia.
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