• Ethics;
  • growth hormone;
  • short stature;
  • suffering

The indications for growth hormone (GH) treatment in non-GH-deficient short children are in debate, with some arguing that this treatment does not belong solely in the medical domain. We describe three different approaches to the issue, and argue that neither a disease-oriented nor client-oriented approach is sufficient. Both lead to withdrawal of medical interventions or to an undesirable application.

Conclusion: An approach focusing on suffering as an indication for treatment of short stature is the most appropriate. The challenge is to develop proper tools by which to evaluate suffering and the efficacy of GH treatment in these children in order to relieve or prevent suffering.