News & Opinion | September 15, 2020 9:55 am

ICE Facility Accused of Performing Mass Hysterectomies

A whistleblower report alleges frequent hysterectomies are among various instances of "jarring medical neglect" at a Georgia ICE facility

surgical tools
The Georgia facility is accused of performing unnecessary hysterectomies on immigrant women.
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An ICE detention center is accused of performing unnecessary hysterectomies on immigrant women in a whistleblower complaint filed Monday, Vice News reported.

The complaint, filed by several legal advocacy groups, accuses the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia of “jarring medical neglect,” including frequent, unnecessary hysterectomies as well as failure to provide adequate protection amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Multiple women detailed what Vice called “stunningly frequent” hysterectomies at the facility in interviews with Project South, a Georgia nonprofit, with one woman comparing the detention center to “an experimental concentration camp.”

“It was like they’re experimenting with their bodies,” she said.

“We’ve questioned among ourselves, like, goodness, he’s taking everybody’s stuff out,” said Dawn Wooten, a nurse who was employed at the facility until July. “That’s his specialty, he’s the uterus collector … Everybody he sees, he’s taking all their uteruses out or he’s taken their tubes out.”

Wooten also reported speaking with several detained immigrants who’d had hysterectomies but didn’t know why.

Meanwhile, Wooten also alleged the facility was failing to enforce COVID-19 safety measures, as well as failing to report accurate numbers of cases.

“Ms. Wooten explained that she believes ICDC is hiding information about COVID-19 in order to keep things quiet,” the complaint said. “She stated that everyone in the facility is scared at this point, so management does not want to tell officers and detained immigrants the truth because they are afraid of an uproar. Instead, the secrecy has created a ‘silent pandemic’ where even if officers get COVID-19 from the facility, the officers won’t be able to blame ICDC because no one knows how prevalent COVID-19 is inside ICDC due to not testing detained immigrants and not sharing who has the virus.”

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