In 1939, a man from a small village in the Andes mountains carried his five-year-old daughter Lina into a hospital in the town of Pisco, Peru. He indicated to the doctors there that the shamans in his village had been unable to cure the large tumor that was developing in her abdomen. Upon examination, the doctors learned that the swelling was not, in fact, a tumor.
Dr. Gérado Lozada was told by Lina’s father that she had been having regular periods since age three, but they had stopped about 7 1/2 months prior to the visit. He listened to the young girl’s abdomen with a stethoscope, and heard a tiny second heartbeat. An X-Ray was also performed, after which there could be no doubt…to the doctors’ astonishment, five-year-old Lina Medina was about seven months pregnant.
Soon she was transferred to a hospital in the city of Lima, where specialists confirmed the pregnancy. Lina’s father was arrested on suspicion of incest, but due to lack of evidence, he was released. On Mother’s Day in 1939, when Lina was just under 5 years and 8 months old, her baby was delivered by cesarean section. It was a healthy 6 pound baby boy, and was named Gerardo after the doctor who originally diagnosed Lina’s pregnancy, Dr. Gérado Lozada.
Further research into the case was done by Dr. Edmundo Escomel, one of Peru’s preeminent physician-researchers at the time. He discovered that Lina’s menstruations had actually begun when she was only eight months old, much sooner than her father had originally reported. Escomel also documented the results of a test which indicated that Lina had the ovaries of a fully mature woman. He concluded that the reason for the early development of her reproductive system must must have been from a pituitary hormonal disorder. But the identity of Gerardo’s father was never determined.
For a long time, Gerardo was raised in the Medina household as though he were Lina’s baby brother. Two years after Gerardo was born, American child psychologist Mrs. Paul Kosak was permitted to speak with Lina at some length. As quoted in the New York Times in 1941, Mrs. Kosak said, “Lina is above normal in intelligence and the baby, a boy, is perfectly normal and is physically better developed than the average Mestiza (Spanish Indian) child. She thinks of the child as a baby brother and so does the rest of the family.”
The case of Lina Medina has often been alleged to be a hoax, but the story has been confirmed many times over the years by physicians in Peru and in the U.S. Sufficient evidence was gathered that there is little room for doubt, including photos, X-Rays, biopsies, and thorough documentation by a number of doctors.
Gerardo grew up believing that Lina was his sister until he was aged ten years, when taunting by schoolmates led him to discover the truth. In 1972, when he was 33 years old, his younger brother was born. His mother Lina had married, and had a child with her new husband.
Gerardo died seven years later at age 40 from a bone marrow infection, but as of 2005 Lina and her husband still live in Peru, and their son currently lives in Mexico.