US watchdog to investigate ICE unwanted hysterectomies claims
This article features Government Accountability Project and our client Dawn Wooten and was originally published here.
US immigration officials on Tuesday said a federal watchdog would investigate complaints made by a whistle-blower nurse in a Georgia immigration detention facility who alleged detainees had improperly received hysterectomies and other gynaecological procedures.
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 US Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General, on Monday by advocacy groups Project South and the Government Accountability Project.
The Reuters news agency 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 legislators in the US, including House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and US Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.
US 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 centre 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 it “strongly refutes these allegations and any implications of misconduct” at the Irwin centre.