A physician of Indian origin is at the center of allegations of women being made to undergo unnecessary medical procedures, including hysterectomies, at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Irwin County, Georgia.
A whistleblower’s complaint by Dawn Wooten, a licensed practical nurse, has alleged that Dr Mahendra Amin, 68, conducted at least five unnecessary hysterectomies between October and December 2019.
Scott R Grubman, the attorney representing Amin, told indica News that his client denies all the allegations.
“We are aware of the whistleblower’s allegations as they relate to Dr Amin, and vehemently deny them,” Grubman said.
He said that Dr Amin is a highly respected physician who has dedicated his life to treating a high-risk, underserved population in rural Georgia.
“Importantly,” Grubman said, “according to The Washington Post, one of the whistleblower’s attorneys expressly acknowledged that she [the whistleblower] did not speak to any of the women directly and that she included the allegations in the report with the intention of triggering an investigation into whether or not the claims were true.”
The attorney added: “Moreover, after an investigation, the Associated Press concluded that there was no evidence of mass hysterectomies at ICDC.”
Amin has been facing several allegations.
The Daily Beast quoted a spokesperson for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology as saying that Amin is not certified by the organization.
“A spokesperson for the American Board of Medical Specialties, the leading organization for physician board certification in the U.S., said Amin was not certified by any of the 24 ABMS member boards,” The Daily Beast reported.
Asked about it, Amin’s attorney Grubman said: “We look forward to all of the facts coming out and are confident that once they do Dr Amin will be cleared of any wrongdoing.”
A group of 168 members of Congress September 15 wrote a letter to Department of Homeland Security inspector general Joseph Cuffari to investigate the allegations of mass hysterectomies at the detention center.
The letter states that the complaint submitted to the DHS office outlining the concerns by Wooten and numerous immigrants who have spoken to Project South, a nonprofit, show there is wide concern about the high rates of hysterectomies performed on detained women.
Project South’s legal & advocacy director and counsel for Wooten, Azadeh Shahshahani, said through a press note: “We have documented conditions at Irwin for many years. The treatment of immigrants at this prison has always been horrid.”
“These new shocking revelations further highlight the extent of the egregious abuses at the facility. The fact that Black and brown immigrant women are held in an extremely vulnerable position at this prison where they have no control over their bodies and no say about what it is done to them is sickening,” she said.
The United States government as well as the private prison LaSalle Corrections corporation running the prison should be held accountable, Shahshahan said through the press note.
According to The Washington Post, a top medical official with ICE released a statement “vehemently” disputing the claims, saying only two women have been referred for hysterectomies from the facility since 2018.
However, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (Democrat, Washington) tweeted September 16: “Yesterday, I was briefed by attorneys representing women who were subjected to forced, invasive procedures by a gynecologist connected with a private, for-profit detention center in GA. It has become clear that the initial reports are likely part of a horrific pattern of conduct.”
She added: “There may be at minimum 17 women who were subjected to unnecessary procedures from just one doctor, often without appropriate consent or knowledge, and with the clear intention of sterilization. It’s possible there are similar cases for individuals who were already deported.”
September 18, Jayapal tweeted: “As more and more information comes to light on forced unnecessary medical procedures — including hysterectomies — being performed on immigrant women, I’m continuing to investigate. We will get to the bottom of this.”