- A nurse at an immigration and customs control facility in Georgia accuses the detention center of performing hysterectomies on migrant women detained there, usually without their consent.
- Dawn Wooten made the allegations in a whistleblower complaint from Project south to the Department of Homeland Security and the Inspector General's Office.
- Wooten alleged women were frequently sent to an off-center gynecologist who often chose to have all or part of the inmates uterus removed.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
A nurse at an immigration and customs detention center in Georgia accused the detention center of allowing mass hysterectomies to be performed on migrant women detained there, usually without their consent or with very little care.
In a whistleblower complaint from Project south Nurse Dawn Wooten quoted the Department of Homeland Security and the Inspector General's Office as citing the poor treatment of migrants detained at the Irwin County Detention Center, including what she described as limited and negligent medical care and minimal testing for COVID-19.
"Ms. Wooten's report on the treatment of people in ICE custody is terrible. The lives of people in immigration custody are at risk, and ICE has continued to demonstrate through its medical neglect records that no one is safe in his custody. This harmful agency has been shameful ICE must be abolished, "said Silky Shah, executive director of the Detention Watch Network, a nonprofit that also helped propose and criminalized what resulted in deaths, abuse, and the separation of hundreds of thousands of families and loved ones." Business Insider said in a statement.
The facility is operated by LaSalle Corrections, a private prison company. Law and crime reported.
Business Insider was unable to reach LaSalle Corrections on Monday, but the company said in a statement to The Intercept: "LaSalle Corrections is strongly committed to the health and well-being of those we care for. We are committed to providing high quality, culturally-engaging services in safe and humane environments."
The whistleblower complaint alleges that migrant women were frequently sent to a gynecologist outside the detention center who often chose to have all or part of the inmates uteri removed.
A detained immigrant woman said she spoke to five women who were in the facility between October and December 2019, all of whom had had a hysterectomy.
Wooten also reported that women who saw this particular gynecologist, who was not named in the report, lost ovaries.
"We asked each other how well he takes all things out … That's his specialty, he's the uterus collector. I know that's ugly … does he collect these things or something … everyone he sees, takes out all of his uteri or He took out their tubes. What on earth, "said Wooten under Law and Crime.
She also related a story in which the doctor removed the wrong ovary from a young woman who was supposed to be removing her left ovary because of a cyst.
"He took out the right one. She was upset. She had to go back to take out the left one, and she had a total hysterectomy. She still wanted kids – so now she has to go home and tell her husband that she can't. I can't." Bearing children … she said she was not fully anesthetized and overheard him [doctor] telling the nurse that he had taken the wrong ovary, "Wooten said in the report.
Several people and Wooten told Project South that some women did not know they were going through the procedure or they were not told what exactly the procedure involved.
"I've learned from several inmates that they went to the doctor and had hysterectomies and didn't know why they left or why they left," Wooten said.
Another woman who received the procedure said when she asked why she had it done, she received three different responses.
The complaint also alleged limited COVID-19 testing at the facility, potentially exposing the risk of contracting the virus, a lack of adequate medical care, including not using life-saving medication for detainees, and general neglect of detainees, complaining of pain.
ICE did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment at the time of publication.