When Messi's parents were informed that their Son would have stunted growth due to Growth Hormone Deficiency(GHD)1, My parents were being lied to by my doctor that I would grow taller than them. Lionel Messi got treated and became one the greatest footballer of all time while I became a dwarf with life threatening consequences.
I'm a year older than Messi, By Age 11 he was diagnosed with GHD2 as he hasn't grown over 4’7” since age 9. I didn't grow since age 9 too and my doctor from the most expensive, highly rated hospital in India told my parents of average height that I would outgrow them eventually.
Messi was prescribed daily injections of somatotropin, or human growth hormone (hGH) which helped him grow to 5’7” and saved him from other health ailments.
It took me 32 years, A life-threatening surgery3 to find that I suffered from Achondroplasia and A totally different disease from Messi but still results in dwarfism. But there are evidences that the growth hormone treatment would have helped me gain height too4 but was dismissed by my doctor when my parents had enquired about it.
The doctor who had performed corrective surgeries to fix the deformities on my legs once when I was a child and for the second time when I was a teen. My medical reports from those period states that I was a normal child with limb deformities.
The reason why I attribute malice on behalf of the doctor is because, He demanded huge sums of money to my lower middle class parents before each surgery as a bribe; Yes a doctor working in the most expensive private hospital in India demanded bribe before surgeries of children and the helpless parents obliged including mine.
In retrospect, A corrupt doctor should have been a red flag for the parents. But the doctor and hospital chain commanded a massive brand even at an international level. Which parent wouldn't do everything in their hands to get their child treated at supposedly the "best" hospital in the country?
I strongly believe that the doctor would have known by the time I got my second round of corrective limb surgeries as a teen that my height is stunted for ever. He could have diagnosed Achondroplasia, Informed my parents the truth and which eventually would have enabled me to prepare for my life with disability.
Although Messi's illustrious sports career overshadows his medical journey, In my opinion the latter is just as important to know for every parent out there to how important it is to get proper diagnosis for their child and correct treatment thereafter.
And my story should be a cautionary tale to not trust medical professionals blindly, Especially someone who's obviously corrupt. Once a wise person said, "In any profession 80% are imbeciles and medicine is not any different".
1: Growth Hormone Deficiency - https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/growth-hormone-deficiency
2: Messi’s Medical Journey - https://journeys.dartmouth.edu/marcanovicoff22/messis-medical-journey/
3: I was told, I would become quadriplegic - https://abishekmuthian.com/i-was-told-i-would-become-quadriplegic-68c0371e6f05/
4: Growth Hormone Treatment for Achondroplasia - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30378790/
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