A nurse at the Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia revealed that a gynecologist performed hysterectomies – a surgical procedure involving removal of the uterus and other surrounding structures – on “everybody he saw” at the facility.
Dawn Wooten, who worked full-time as a licensed practical nurse at the facility, was demoted to work as needed in July.
“Everybody he sees has a hysterectomy – just about everybody,” said Wooten, “He’s even taken out the wrong ovary on a young lady.”
Wooten, along with her colleagues, questioned the number of those who had the procedure.
“We’ve questioned among ourselves like goodness he’s taking everybody’s stuff out … That’s his specialty, he’s the uterus collector,” the whistleblower said.
“I know that’s ugly … is he collecting these things or something … Everybody he sees, he’s taking all their uteruses out or he’s taken their tubes out. What in the world.”
The facility, which is run by the private corporation LaSalle Corrections, has also allegedly underreported Covid-19 cases, knowingly placed staff and detainees at risk of contracting the virus, neglected medical complaints, and refused to test symptomatic detainees.
A letter of complaint was submitted to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General, with the help of attorneys from the Government Accountability Project.
The legal advocacy group Project South also submitted a complaint to the OIG, which included similar testimony collected from interviews with detainees.
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement released a statement disputing the claims, and said that only two women have been referred for hysterectomies since 2018.
Dr. Ada Rivera, medical director of the ICE Health Service Corps, said that the two surgeries had been approved by ICE officials.
“To be clear, medical care decisions concerning detainees are made by medical personnel, not by law enforcement personnel,” said Rivera.
“Detainees are afforded informed consent, and a medical procedure like a hysterectomy would never be performed against a detainee’s will.”