US

US to investigate after nurse alleges immigrant women given unnecessary hysterectomies

Issued on: 16/09/2020 – 02:13

U.S. immigration officials said on Tuesday a federal watchdog would investigate complaints made by a whistleblower nurse in a Georgia immigration detention facility who alleged detainees had improperly received hysterectomies and other gynecological procedures.

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The allegations were made by Dawn Wooten, a former nurse at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC), in a complaint filed to the watchdog, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Office of the Inspector General, on Monday by advocacy groups Project South and the Government Accountability Project.

Reuters interviewed Wooten but could not independently confirm the claims of improper hysterectomies, or surgery to remove the uterus.

The allegations caused an outcry among Democratic lawmakers including U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) denied the allegations. Dr. Ada Rivera, the medical director of the ICE Health Service Corps, said in a statement that since 2018, only two individuals at the Irwin center in Georgia were referred for hysterectomies based on recommendations by specialists that "were reviewed by the facility clinical authority and approved."

LaSalle Corrections, the private contractor that runs the facility, said in a statement that it "strongly refutes these allegations and any implications of misconduct" at the Irwin center.

Wooten told Reuters on Monday that women who complained of heavyRead More – Source