The ICE doctor who has allegedly been performing unwanted hysterectomies on women detained at Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia is not a board certified OB-GYN, The Daily Beast reports. Dr. Mahendra Amin is at the center of the controversy after former nurse at ICDC Dawn Wooten revealed she’d seen him perform hysterectomies on detainees without their knowledge or consent.
A spokesperson for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology told The Daily Beast that its records show ICE doctor Amin is not certified by the organization. A spokesperson for the American Board of Medical Specialties, the leading organization for physician board certification in the U.S., said Amin was not certified by any of the 24 ABMS member boards. Unlike a state license, board certification is not required but those who do obtain them do to add to their skillset and as further proof of their training.
The publication reached out to Amin via text message and he declined to comment referring them to his lawyer who did not respond to multiple requests. Since the story broke lawyers representing 17 detainees have claimed their clients received unnecessary medical gynecological procedures from Amin, according to the office of Rep. Pramila Jayapal. The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general has launched an investigation into the allegations, and the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee said his panel will also look into it.
An attorney for Amin said he “vehemently den[ies]” Wooten’s allegations, noting that one of the whistleblower’s attorneys acknowledged not having spoken to any of the women directly as told to The Washington Post. Wooten said staff referred to him as the “uterus collector” and alleges many of the women didn’t understand what was being done to them.
“Everybody he sees, he’s taking all their uteruses out or he’s taken their tubes out. What in the world?” – Deborah Wooten in a complaint filed with the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security.
Project South is one of the legal advocacy groups that filed the complaint and their legal and advocacy director Azadeh Shahshahani said it was “outrageous” that ICE would allow a doctor without board certification to work on detainees.
“It shows the lack of care that ICE feels for detained immigrants, for their well being and healthcare,” she told The Daily Beast. “It’s really disturbing.”
Tony H. Pham, the Senior Official Performing the Duties of Director for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in a statement:
“The recent allegations by the independently contracted employee raise some very serious concerns that deserve to be investigated quickly and thoroughly. ICE welcomes the efforts of both the Office of Inspector General as well as the Department of Homeland Security’s parallel review. As a former prosecutor, individuals found to have violated our policies and procedures should be held accountable. If there is any truth to these allegations, it is my commitment to make the corrections necessary to ensure we continue to prioritize the health, welfare and safety of ICE detainees.”