Tuesday 22 November 2016

Marla Ahlgrimm: World’s Youngest Mother Turns 83

Marla Ahlgrimm
Lina Medina was just 5-years old when she gave birth to a healthy baby boy in Lima, Peru, on May 14th, 1939, reports Marla Ahlgrimm. The son, Gerardo Medina, passed away at the age of 40 in 1979. Lina turned 83 on September 27th, 2016.

Marla Ahlgrimm notes that Lina, who was brought to Dr. Gerardo Lozada in Pisco, Peru, on suspicion of an abdominal tumor, displayed signs of precocious puberty from three months of age.

Seeing her daughter’s belly expand, Lina’s mother believed the girl was suffering from an abdominal tumor. Her father, Tiburchio Medina, sought help with a shaman in his small village. However, as Marla Ahlgrimm explains, the Peruvian clerics could not help Lina. The pregnancy was discovered after Lina’s mother inadvertently felt the “tumor” move within Lina’s stomach. She then convinced her husband to deliver the child to the hospital some four hours away.

Once the Medina family reached Pisco, Lina was taken to see Dr. Lozada, who diagnosed the pregnancy. Tiburchio did not trust the doctors or nurses and often fought with medical staff. At one point, Marla Ahlgrimm says, Dr. Lozada slapped the elder Medina, who was subsequently jailed for unruly behavior.

News of Lina Medina’s unusual situation soon reached Senora de Benavides, the wife of then Peruvian President Oscar R. Benavides. She involved Dr. Francisco Grana in the case. Grana was the head of Lima’s medical community and the area’s most prominent surgeon. Lina was rushed into emergency cesarean surgery on May 14th, 1939, after developing a fever. Several blood transfusions were needed to save the girl’s life.

Marla Ahlgrimm says that Lina was not told that the baby was hers until she was 16. Doctors at the hospital felt it best for her that the family raise the baby as her brother and she was led to believe that the surgery removed a tumor. Lina’s father was arrested on charges of sexual assault and rape but later released due to lack of evidence. To this day, Lina does not know the identity of the father, though it is likely that one of her older brothers is responsible.


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