Following the September report from whistleblower Dawn Wooten about medical misconduct at the Irwin county detention center in Georgia, at least 19 women have come forward saying they were subject to forced surgeries and medical abuse according to a new report. A team of nine board-certified OB-GYNs and two nursing experts reviewed more than 3,200 pages of records obtained for the women and produced a report on their complaints, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The women, who are mostly Black and Latina, allege that they were pressured into “unnecessary” gynecological surgeries; they were all patients of Dr. Mahendra Amin, the same doctor Wooten dubbed the “uterus collector” and who is not board certified.
“Both Dr. Amin and the referring detention facility took advantage of the vulnerability of women in detention to pressure them to agree to overly aggressive, inappropriate, and unconsented medical care,” the report states.
19 women allege medical abuse in Georgia immigration detention.
Most are Black and Latino.
One woke from surgery w/stomach bandages: “What type of surgery did I have?”https://t.co/H4UKIw4gDc
— Kimbriell Kelly (@Kimbriell) October 23, 2020
The women were given birth control and the procedures they underwent include the removal of reproductive organs such as the fallopian tubes, uterus, and ovaries, according to the report and interviews with the women conducted by the LA Times. The Times reached out to ICE and the Homeland Security office of inspector general and neither would not provide a comment as the investigation is ongoing. Dr. Amin’s lawyer, Scott Grubman, states he denies all allegations.
Azedeh Shahshahani, a legal director at Project South who helped file the original complaint, told Newsweek: “These shocking revelations further highlight the extent of the egregious abuses at the Irwin County Detention Center. The fact that Black and brown immigrant women are held in an extremely vulnerable position at this prison where they have no control over their bodies and no say about what is done to them is sickening.”
“As a nurse, I took an oath that my life, when I step in, no longer was my life; it became the lives of others. And until you see through the eyes of others and you experience through the eyes of others, there’s no concern, and there’s no regard.”-Nurse Dawn Wooten✨ #AbolishICE pic.twitter.com/gAwnVvXFUj
— _alphiye (@alpha_berhane) September 21, 2020
The report shows that women were sent to Amin even if they didn’t need gynecological care and that if they refused or pushed back on procedures he recommended they faced retaliation including a psychiatric evaluation. Lawyers also characterized the fact that the women were not provided their medical records as a form of retaliation for their complaints. Amin’s findings used to justify most of the surgeries are not supported by all the other available sources of information the report states.
Democracy Now spoke with Jaromy Floriano Navarro, a survivor of Amin’s medical abuse who was an original source in Wooten’s report. “From day one that I met Dr. Amin, he said, ‘OK, you need surgery,’” Navarro told the outlet. “They were really trying to do the surgery on me, for whatever reason. They wanted to take my womb out.”