Whistleblower nurse alleges mass hysterectomies at U.S. immigration detention centre

  • Whistleblower nurse alleges mass hysterectomies at U.S. immigration detention centre

Whistleblower nurse alleges mass hysterectomies at U.S. immigration detention centre

ICE said on its website that as of September 13, there were 42 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among its detainees at Irwin County Detention Center, and 5,772 in all of its facilities, with six overall deaths.

Following some devastating revelations from a nurse-turned-whistleblower at a Georgia immigrant detention center (as shared with the Intercept earlier this week) about concerns over medical practices at the center during the global pandemic, the full complaint obtained by SheKnows provides a grim closer look into the practices putting immigrants detained in the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) - operated by private prison company LaSalle Corrections - at risk and allegedly irreparably harming their health and reproductive freedom.

Advocacy group Project South has filed a complaint with the Homeland Security Department's internal watchdog that relies heavily on the nurse's words.

"Recently, a detained immigrant told Project South that she talked to five different women detained at ICDC between October and December 2019 who had a hysterectomy done", a statement reads. Many of these women who underwent the procedure were reportedly "confused" when asked to explain why they were getting the surgery in the first place.

The detainee who witnessed all this did understand though. "It was like they're experimenting with our bodies'".

LaSalle Corrections and the DHS Office of the Inspector General did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE. The whistleblower claimed that ICDC consistently used a particular external gynecologist who nearly always opted to perform hysterectomies on his female detainee patients.

'Everybody he sees has a hysterectomy - just about everybody, ' Wooten said.

"We've questioned among ourselves like, 'Goodness, he's taking everybody's stuff out, '" Wooten said.

Wooten said the facility failed to isolate possible coronavirus patients and didn't quarantine any migrants in close vicinity who may have been exposed to the disease.

"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 awful, inhumane conditions of confinement", said Owings. "What in the world".

Wooten says that numerous nurses tried to communicate with the women by "Googling Spanish" or by asking another detainee to translate, rather than the official language services they're supposed to use.

Staff was just as inexperienced in the surgery room, the complaint alleged. She claimed that almost every inmate who saw the doctor received a hysterectomy and claimed the doctor removed the "wrong ovary" on at least one patient.

Meanwhile, another detained woman who was scheduled for the procedure was given at least three completely different answers when she questioned why it was necessary. She said nurses raised concerns about the doctor.

Yet another woman was told she had to have her left ovary removed because of a cyst.

Covid-19 complaints included staff refusing to test symptomatic detainees, failing to isolate suspected cases, and not encouraging social-distancing practices. She said nurses ignored detainees reporting COVID-19 symptoms.

The agency maintains that the Irwin County Detention Center has been inspected multiple times, with and without warning, and that the facility has been found to be in compliance with Performance Based National Detention Standards.

UPDATE, 7:59 p.m.: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has responded to this story with a statement that said, generally speaking, "anonymous, unproven allegations, made without any fact-checkable specifics" should be treated with skepticism.

That's a unusual response, seeing as these allegations have been made by a named whistleblower - Nurse Wooten.

Need we remind that the policy to detain refugees - innocent people just looking for a home in the United States (the brainchild of Trump adviser Stephen Miller (above, inset)) has become normalized over the course of a couple years.

Democrats were quick to jump on the allegations after spending the last three years condemning the Trump administration's treatment of immigrants, including the separation of families and the detention of children in squalid conditions at the border. People were outraged, but then... nothing changed. Ugh.

In addition to holding detainees for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, it also serves those arrested by the U.S. Marshals and the Irwin County Sheriff's Department.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, said the panel is conducting an ongoing investigation about the conditions at ICE contractor facilities "and will be examining these new and incredibly serious allegations".

The agency told the Associated Press that "anonymous, unproven allegations, made without any fact-checkable specifics, should be treated with the appropriate scepticism they deserve".

What do U think about this, Perezcious readers??