Health Care

Whistleblower Revealed ‘Victims of Persecution’ Being Forcibly Sterilized at ICE Facility

Whistleblower Revealed ‘Victims of Persecution’ Being Forcibly Sterilized at ICE Facility”

Staff at the LaSalle Corrections-owned Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) of Ocilla, Georgia, engaged in "medical neglect" and "hazardous and reckless actions" regarding COVID-19 testing, hysterectomies, medical documents and additional health-related affairs of detained immigrants, the nonprofit whistleblower advocacy group Government Accountability Project and the human rights organization Project South alleged in a joint complaint filed on Monday with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG).

Per the complaint: "When she talked to them about the surgery, the women 'reacted confused when explaining why they had one done.' The woman told Project South that it was as though the women were 'trying to tell themselves it's going to be OK.' She further said: 'When I met all these women who had had surgeries, I thought this was like an experimental concentration camp".

While the 27-page complaint filed by advocacy group Project South quotes unidentified detainees extensively, it also includes detailed comments from Wooten.

Top Democrats demanded answers Tuesday after a whistleblower nurse filed a complaint claiming that an immigration detention center was performing an exceptional number of hysterectomies on migrant women.

Wotten had worked as a nurse for over a decade before she said she was demoted following her complaints about COVID-19 medical safety and refusal to work with COVID-19 positive patients without a mask. The Irwin County Detention Center has repeatedly been found to operate in compliance with ICE's performance standards, the agency said.

Wooten - who is being represented in the matter by the Government Accountability Project - also confirmed that numerous detained women told her that they didn't understand why they were being forced to have the procedure.

The woman was not "all the way out under anesthesia" during the first procedure, Wooten said, and actually heard the doctor announce to the nurse in the room that he had removed the wrong ovary. She was supposed to get her left ovary removed because it had a cyst on the left ovary; he took out the right one.

Rights groups have filed a complaint against a migrant detention centre in the USA, alleging medical neglect and a lack of Covid-19 safety measures.

Wooten said it was unclear if the patients - particularly immigrant women - knowingly agreed to the procedure, which would prevent them from having children in the future.

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"She was upset. She had to go back to take out the left and she wound up with a total hysterectomy", Wooten said. But according to the complaint, "The officer who was transporting her to the hospital told her that she was receiving a hysterectomy to have her womb removed".

ICE did not comment on the report, but the agency told Law & Crime that it "takes all allegations seriously" and deferred to the Office of Inspector General to investigate.

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.

Wooten was demoted in July from a full-time nurse to "as-needed" after missing work because she had coronavirus symptoms. "I know that's ugly...is he collecting these things or something?"

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. "It was like they're experimenting with our bodies", the detainee said.

"Ms Wooten's whistleblowing disclosures confirm what detained immigrants have been reporting for years", Ms Shahshahani added.

"A lot of them said that they didn't understand what was being done to them".

"In general, anonymous, unproven allegations, made without any fact-checkable specifics, should be treated with the appropriate skepticism they deserve", the statement said.

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.



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