Democrats to investigate forced surgery claims in Georgia

Henrietta Brewer
September 16, 2020

Advocacy groups Project South, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, Georgia Detention Watch, and South Georgia Immigrant Support Network, filed the complaint to the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security.

USA immigration officials said on Tuesday a federal watchdog would investigate complaints made by a whistleblower nurse in a Georgia immigration detention facility who alleged detainees had improperly received hysterectomies and other gynecological procedures.

"'When I met all these women who had had surgeries, I thought this was like an experimental concentration camp".

One woman was reportedly told the surgery would help with her heavy period, though she says that had never been an issue in the first place.

In "extremely f***ed up, but not surprising" news, a whistleblower has come forward to claim ICE detention centers are performing mass hysterectomies on migrant women.

Beyond the allegations related to hysterectomies, the complaint further states that detainees were treated poorly in other ways, including not receiving medical attention when experiencing pain, having life-saving medication withheld from them, and ICDC not conducting enough COVID-19 testing.

In her complaint, Wooten said some of her patients told her they were afraid to go to a doctor they called the "uterus collector", according to the complaint.

She alleged about one doctor that "everybody he sees has a hysterectomy", and that he removed the wrong ovary from one young detainee.

'She was supposed to get her left ovary removed because it had a cyst on the left ovary; he took out the right one.

The whistleblower is Dawn Wooten, who says she was retaliated against for speaking up about the center's mismanagement of the coronavirus crisis.

Dzubow stated that he hopes that despite the US' numbness to such objectively shocking details, the complaint will at the very least, bring about a DHS investigation into the doctor who allegedly performed the series of questionable hysterectomies.

"She was originally told by the doctor that she had an ovarian cyst and was going to have a small twenty-minute procedure done drilling three small holes in her stomach to drain the cyst".

Benjamin Osorio, another lawyer representing women in the Irwin County facility, said two of his clients received hysterectomies that they believe may have been unnecessary.

Wooten alleged in her complaint that men and women at the detention center "overwhelmingly reported not being tested for Covid-19 from March until August 18", when those in the ICE facility were given the option to be tested.

"I don't think this is necessarily a systemic sterilization by ICE I think this is the kind of thing that is allowed to flourish in the course of poor oversight and bad, inhumane conditions of confinement", said Owings. "I was told not to tell officers that there were detainees they dealt with day in and day out that were positive". Immigrant detainees who spoke out against the conditions were put in solitary confinement, according to the report. "Nobody explained it to them", she said.

"So a lot of them are just non-criminals, and a lot of them are victims of persecution and other harm and crimes", Dzubow explained.

In a statement responding to Wooten's allegations, a spokesperson for ICE said, "U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not comment on matters presented to the Office of the Inspector General, which provides independent oversight and accountability within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security".

She claims that inmates were likely infected with the virus at a rate much higher than reported because the facility declined to use two rapid-testing COVID-19 machines.

In statements released on Monday, ICE said it was taking the allegations seriously and was "firmly committed to the safety and welfare of all those in its custody". There were also reported incidences of ICDC management "hiding information from employees and detained immigrants about who has tested positive for COVID-19".

ICE responded to the allegations on Monday evening, suggesting in a statement that charges from anonymous patients cited in the complaint "should be treated with the appropriate skepticism they deserve".

Other reports by iNewsToday