Whistleblower Nurse Alleges Mass Hysterectomies on Women Detained by ICE

A whistleblower complaint alleged that migrants at a private Georgia ICE detention facility face mass hysterectomies and medical neglect.

Advocacy groups led by Project South filed a complaint to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General on behalf of Dawn Wooten, a nurse at the Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia.

Wooten and inmates interviewed by Project South alleged that women at the facility, which is run by LaSalle Corrections, faced mass hysterectomies.

"Recently, a detained immigrant told Project South that she talked to five different women detained at ICDC between October and December 2019 who had a hysterectomy done," the complaint said. "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.'"

“Uterus collector”:

One detainee described the facility as a “concentration camp.”

"When I met all these women who had had surgeries, I thought this was like an experimental concentration camp," the detainee said. "It was like they're experimenting with our bodies."

Wooten said the center repeatedly used a doctor she called the “uterus collector.”

"Everybody he sees has a hysterectomy — just about everybody," Wooten said. "Everybody's uterus cannot be that bad."

Additional Coronavirus allegations:

The complaint also alleged that the facility has underreported the number of coronavirus cases and placed staff and detainees at risk.

"Ms. Wooten's whistleblowing disclosures confirm what detained immigrants have been reporting for years — gross disregard for health and safety standards, lack of medical care and unsanitary living conditions," Priyanka Bhatt, an attorney at Project South, told The Intercept.


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