A whistleblower who formerly worked at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Georgia revealed that immigrant women were forced to get unnecessary hysterectomies after a complaint was sent to the Department of Homeland Security inspector general on Monday. The Whistleblower also accused the facility of negligence, poor safety precautions for Covid-19, and unsanitary conditions.
Dawn Wooten, a licensed nurse, is the whistleblower that released this information and was represented by the Government Accountability Project and Project South. The Government Accountability Project is a department that represents whistleblowers and the Project South is a Georgia-based-social justice organization.
After Wooten alleged the ICE facility of forced hysterectomies, the complaint was backed by these immigrant advocacy organizations: Georgia Detention Watch, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, and South Georgia Immigrant Support Network.
According to Wooten, an-off site doctor was used to executing surgeries on immigrant women who experience severe menstrual cycles; however, many of them did not understand what was going on and many nurses received consent just by googling Spanish instead of requesting a Spanish-speaker.
“Everybody he sees has a hysterectomy – just about everybody,” Wooten said. “That’s his specialty, he’s the uterus collector. Everybody’s uterus cannot be that bad.”
One woman who went in to remove one of her uteruses due to a cyst ended up having a hysterectomy because the doctor removed the wrong one and had to do another surgery to remove the right one.
The safety precautions at the facility for Covid-19 are non-existent. Detained immigrants have not been tested for the virus throughout the pandemic and there is no social distancing in the facility.
Lindsay Williams, an ICE spokeswoman, claimed on Tuesday that the facility does not comment on issues that were presented to the Office of the Inspector General and that, “in general, anonymous, unproven allegations, made without any fact-checkable specifics, should be treated with the appropriate skepticism they deserve.”