Whistleblower from ICE Detention Facility Files Complaint Alleging ‘Jarring Medical Neglect’ Within the Facility

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On September 14th, a nurse named Dawn Wooten, expressed concerns over the high numbers of questionable hysterectomies performed on Spanish-speaking women that are detained at the Irwin County Detention Center, states NPR.  She filed a complaint on Monday, claiming the issue of the lack of medical attention by refusing to test detainees with symptoms as well as fabricating medical records, according to BBC.  Not only is there lack of medical attention but she does declare the facility as “hazardous and unsanitary.”  According to the alleged claim, an off-site doctor performed the hysterectomies on immigrant women who had heavy menstrual cycles; the women did not understand what was going on and nurses got consent from patients by “Googling Spanish.” A woman said that during her surgery, she was not properly anesthetized and overheard the doctor saying he mistakenly removed the wrong ovary.  Another woman stated she needed to have a cyst drained but instead got a hysterectomy, the claim reports.  A detainee shared their thoughts while in the facility, “When I met all these women who had had surgeries, I thought this was like an experimental concentration camp. It was like they’re experimenting with our bodies.”  Furthermore, her claim suggests that detainees who spoke out against these conditions would be pushed into solitary confinement.  When Wooten tried to speak up, she was demoted and reprimanded.  Elaborating further on the situation, Wooten claims, “Everybody he sees has a hysterectomy – just about everybody… That’s his specialty, he’s the uterus collector. Everybody’s uterus cannot be that bad.”

Ultimately, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement runs the private company and facilitates them in three Southern states.  Campaigners recall there are 500 and 800 people in the center while bed capacity is 1, 200, states BBC.  Conditions have been said  to worsen during the coronavirus pandemic.  A human rights group called Project South, had filed a complaint in 2017 about how Irwin County has poorly treated detainees.  There has been a lack of social distancing and hiding the amount of positive tests as well as intermixing detainees with positive Covid tests and negative ones.  The organization hopes to free all the detainees and shut down the detention center.  Human rights groups are currently working on filing the issue to Congress and the United Nations.