WHO: Margot Stern
WHAT: At New York City’s elite Dalton School, at least six students are reportedly taking a human growth hormone to help them grow. Parent Stern wanted son Jeffrey to achieve his full growth potential, so she convinced an endocrinologist to prescribe Humatrope. The 16-year-old shot up from 4 feet 1 inch tall to 5 feet 7 inches. Yet, long-term risks remain a mystery and side effects include headaches, glucose intolerance and hip problems.
WHAT’S BEING DONE: Stern’s insurance company, Aetna, refuses to continue covering the $2,400 a month shots, claiming that Jeffrey no longer has a growth hormone deficiency. According to the insurer, the soccer player now falls in the “short stature” category, which is not covered. Stern is taking Aetna to court to force them to pay for the hormones. But experts disagree with the treatment. “It’s outrageous,” said Dr. Alan Rogol, a professor at the University of Virginia Hospital who specializes in growth and development. “We’re struggling to get kids up to 5 feet.”