This is a very interesting story to try and compare it to real life. However, I would take issue with your question, as it implies that the events contained within the story are not realistic or relevant to "real life." I think part of the strength of the story is the way that actually this is an incredibly realistic portrayal of an event that could easily be part of reality. Consider the girl, Mathilda, who is so desperate to protect the secret of her illness. She is trying to ignore reality. Her attitude is that if it is not revealed, then she will not be ill. However, it is the doctor's job to investigate fully the reasons for her sickness and expose the disease:
The damned little brat must be protected against her own idiocy, one says to one's self at such times. Others must be protected against her. It is a social necessity.
Thus if you are looking for a "real" situation to compare this already "real" situation too, you might want to think about the way in which some people try to ignore or cover up symptoms of disease and death, even when it can be a risk to other people.