Branding of subjects affected with genetic syndromes of severe short stature in developing countries

Jaime Guevara-Aguirre, Carolina Guevara, Alexandra Guevara, Antonio Awd Gavilanes

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In Ecuador, a developing South American country, subjects affected with genetic syndromes of severe short stature are commonly referred to as dwarfs or midgets. Furthermore, and because in earlier studies some patients had evidenced mental retardation, such abnormality is assumed to exist in all affected subjects. Herein, we present two discrete instances in which this type of branding occurs. The first is that of individuals with Laron syndrome who are still called 'dwarfs' and considered as having a degree of mental retardation despite evidence showing otherwise. A similar problem, that of a girl affected with a genetic syndrome of short stature, which might include mental retardation, is also discussed. Considering that stigmatising is a form of discrimination, it concerns us all. Hence, the use of derogatory terms such as midget, dwarf or cretin, that might unintentionally occur even when delivering the best and most devoted medical care, must be eliminated.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere231737
JournalBMJ case Reports
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2020


  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Child, Preschool
  • De Lange Syndrome/drug therapy
  • Developing Countries
  • Ecuador
  • Female
  • Human Growth Hormone/therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Laron Syndrome/psychology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications/metabolism
  • Repressor Proteins/genetics
  • Stereotyping
  • Terminology as Topic

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