Lina Medina was born in 1933 in Ticrapo, Castrovirreyna Province, Peru, to parents Tiburcio Medina, a silversmith, and Victoria Losea. She was one of nine children.
Her parents brought her to a hospital in Pisco when she was five years old because her abdomen was growing. Initially, doctors suspected a tumor, but later discovered that she was in her seventh month of pregnancy. Dr. Gerardo Lozada consulted specialists in Lima to verify the pregnancy.
There was significant interest in the case. The San Antonio Light newspaper in Texas reported in its 16 July 1939 edition that a Peruvian obstetrician and midwife association had demanded her admission to a national maternity hospital. They also quoted reports in the Peruvian paper La Crónica that an American film studio had sent a representative with the authority to offer $5,000 for filming rights to benefit the minor, but this offer was rejected. The article mentioned that Lozada had made scientific films of Medina and had shown them while addressing Peru’s National Academy of Medicine. Some of the films were lost in a river during a visit to the girl’s hometown, but enough remained to intrigue the learned savants.
On 14 May 1939, a truly extraordinary event took place that would forever change the course of medical history and captivate the world with its astonishing nature. A young girl named Medina, at the tender age of just 5 years, 7 months, and 21 days, defied all expectations as she gave birth to a baby boy. This remarkable occurrence immediately propelled her into the annals of history, making her the youngest person ever recorded to have given birth.
The circumstances surrounding this unprecedented event were nothing short of remarkable. Due to her small pelvis, Medina had to undergo a caesarean section to safely deliver her child. This complex surgical procedure was conducted by the skilled hands of Dr. Lozada and Dr. Busalleu, who were assisted by the experienced anaesthesiologist, Dr. Colareta.
As the medical team delved deeper into the procedure, they made a truly astonishing discovery – Medina possessed fully developed sexual organs as a result of precocious puberty. This revelation left the medical community in awe and sparked a flurry of scientific interest. Dr. Edmundo Escomel, a renowned physician, meticulously documented this extraordinary case in the esteemed medical journal La Presse Médicale. His detailed account shed light on the incredible journey of young Medina, revealing that she had experienced her first menstrual cycle at a mere eight months old.
This revelation stood in stark contrast to previous reports, which erroneously claimed that she had been experiencing regular periods since the age of three or even two and a half. Medina’s story became a catalyst for further research into precocious puberty and its implications. This condition, characterized by the early onset of sexual development, fascinated scientists and doctors alike. As they delved deeper into the complexities of Medina’s case, they sought to unravel the mysteries of her unique physiology, hoping to gain valuable insights that could aid in the understanding of similar conditions in the future.
The impact of Medina’s case extended far beyond the realms of medical research. Her story resonated deeply with people around the world, capturing their collective imagination and sparking discussions on societal norms, ethics, and the well-being of children. Some viewed her experience as a tragic violation of childhood innocence, while others marveled at the resilience displayed by this young girl in the face of unimaginable circumstances. In the years that followed, Medina and her child faded from the public eye, seeking privacy and anonymity.
Though her story may have slipped from the headlines, its impact on the medical field remained indelible. Medina’s remarkable journey served as a reminder of the boundless complexities of the human body and the unfathomable wonders that continue to unravel within it. Decades later, Medina’s case remains a testament to the remarkable resilience and strength of the human spirit, transcending age and defying conventional expectations.
Her legacy lives on as a symbol of perseverance, sparking ongoing discussions and fostering a deeper appreciation for the intricacies of human biology. Through her extraordinary experience, Medina continues to inspire and astonish, forever etching her name in the annals of medical history.
Medina’s son was born weighing 2.7 kg (6.0 lb; 0.43 st) and was named Gerardo after her doctor. He was raised believing Medina to be his sister until he discovered at age 10 that she was actually his mother. Eventually, Lozada allowed Medina to take custody of their son at her home in Lima. Later, he hired Medina at his clinic in Lima, where she also lived, although she had limited opportunities to see her son. Unfortunately, her son passed away in 1979 at the age of 40 due to a bone marrow disease.
According to Peruvian law, Medina’s pregnancy implies that she was raped before turning five. Medina has not disclosed the identity of the father or the circumstances of her impregnation. Escomel suggests that she may be unaware herself, as she “couldn’t provide accurate answers”. Lina’s father was arrested on suspicion of child sexual abuse but later released due to insufficient evidence.
In her youth, Medina was a secretary at Lozada’s clinic in Lima, where she received an education and supported her son’s high school education. She got married and had another son in 1972. In 2002, she declined an interview with Reuters, as she had done with numerous reporters before.
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