Several immigration rights groups have filed a lawsuit accusing Georgia’s Irwin County Detention Center of allowing “high rate” of hysterectomies among immigrant women, among other allegations of “discordant medical negligence And a lack of safety precautions against COVID-19.
The complaint was submitted to the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General’s office Monday by Project South and others on behalf of whistleblower Dawn Wooten, who worked at Irwin as a nurse for three years, according to Interception.
Wooten told Project South in the complaint that many Spanish-speaking immigrant women at the facility did not fully understand what a hysterectomy was or why it was performed on them.
“Several inmates told me that they had gone to the doctor and had had hysterectomies and did not know why they were going or why they were going,” she said.[When they do understand] some of them will not even go often, they say they will wait until they return to their country to go to the doctor.
An anonymous immigrant confirmed to Project South that “a lot of women here have hysterectomies.” She likened Irwin to an “experimental concentration camp,” where doctors “experiment … with our bodies.”
The same woman told Project South that she knew five inmates who had had a hysterectomy between October and December 2019. They “all reacted confused as to why they had one,” she said. Many of them, she added, saw a gynecologist outside the facility for the procedure after complaining of heavy menstrual cycles.
“Everyone he sees has a hysterectomy, pretty much everyone,” Wooten said of the same doctor.
Calling him a ‘uterus collector’, Wooten claims he took out ‘everyone’s stuff … It’s his specialty … I know it’s ugly … does he collect these things or something thing… Everyone he sees, he removes all of their uteri or he’s got their tubes out. What the hell. ”
The complaint also alleges several health and safety violations related to medical procedures. In one case, Wooten said, a woman was not properly anesthetized and overheard a doctor telling a nurse that he had accidentally removed the bad ovary.
“She was supposed to have her left ovary removed because there was a cyst on her left ovary,” Wooten said. “He took out the right. She was upset. She had to go back in to get the left out and she ended up with a total hysterectomy. She still wanted kids, so she has to come home now and tell her husband that ‘she can’t stand the kids. ”
Wooten, who believes Irwin also underreported COVID-19 cases and overlooked medical complaints, said Interception that she was demoted after speaking.
A US representative from Immigration and Customs Enforcement released this statement to Law and crime news in response to complaint: “Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not comment on matters referred to the Office of the Inspector General, which provides independent oversight and accountability within the US Department of Homeland Security . The ICE takes all allegations seriously and reports to the OIG regarding any potential investigation and / or outcome. That said, in general, anonymous, unproven allegations made without any verifiable details should be treated with the appropriate skepticism. ‘they deserve. “
Priyanka Bhatt, an attorney for Project South, said Interception that “Wooten’s warning disclosures confirm what detained immigrants have been reporting for years – a blatant disregard for health and safety standards, lack of medical care and unsanitary living conditions.”
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