Caribbean Immigrants Among ICE Detainees Alleging Medical Abuse

Irwin-County-Detention-Center
At least two Caribbean immigrants are among at least 19 other women who were detained at a Georgia Irwin County Detention Center and are also alleging medical abuse while in the custody of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, (US ICE) according to a new report.
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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. Oct. 25, 2020: At least two Caribbean immigrants are among at least 19 other women who were detained at a Georgia Irwin County Detention Center and are also alleging medical abuse while in the custody of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, (US ICE) according to a new report.

Wendy Dowe, 48, who was deported to Jamaica in May after more than 20 years in the U.S., told The Times, that a doctor performed, or pressured her to undergo, “overly aggressive” or “medically unnecessary” surgery, including procedures that affect her ability to have children, according to a new report and other records obtained by The Times.

That doctor is Dr. Mahendra Amin, who practices gynecology in the nearby town of Douglas and has been described by ICE officials as the detention center’s “primary gynecologist.”

Dowe said Amin told her that the menstrual cramping she had was caused by large cysts and masses that needed to be removed. The doctor insisted, she said, and as a detainee, she was brought to the hospital in handcuffs and shackles. She said she felt pressured to consent.

After surgery, she said she was surprised to see bandages on her stomach. She had to write to Amin’s medical office, she said, to ask, “What type of surgery did I have?”

Later, she said, she refused to get a surprise hysterectomy as Amin and others asked her: “How many kids you got? Well, I don’t see why you can’t take it out.”

The independent medical review of Dowe’s records conducted as part of the report found the recommended procedure was unwarranted.

It was only after she was deported to Jamaica and had her medical files reviewed by several other doctors that she knew she had been right to raise questions.

A radiologist’s report, based on images of her internal organs from her time at Irwin, described her uterus as being a healthy size, not swollen with enlarged masses and cysts, as the doctor had written in his notes. The cysts she had were small, and the kind that occur naturally and do not usually require surgical intervention.

Shereace, 34, another Jamaican immigrant who asked to be identified by her first name for protection since she’s been deported to Jamaica, said she requested to see Dr. Amin because her previous doctor had told her to monitor her abnormal Pap smears.

After she woke up from one procedure, she said, Dr. Amin told her that her fallopian tubes were “damaged and no good, and he let me know I’m never going to be able to have kids.”

“I was crushed,” she said. “I was hearing in some of the stories they were saying that he was removing women’s tubes without their permission. I thought: What if he just removed my tubes?”

She said she’s still not sure what Amin did because she hasn’t been able to afford to go to the doctor.

The Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, GA., drew national attention in September, after a nurse, Dawn Wooten, filed a whistle-blower complaint claiming that detainees had told her they had had their uteruses removed without their full understanding or consent

The complaint to the Department of Homeland Security inspector general has in turn prompted national outcry, congressional inquiries and federal investigations.

Thenew report was written by a team of nine board-certified OB-GYNs and two nursing experts, each affiliated with academic medical centers — including those at Northwestern University, Baylor College of Medicine and Creighton University — who reviewed more than 3,200 pages of records obtained for the 19 women.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said in a statement last month that the emerging allegations of medical abuse against the women at Irwin echo “some of the darkest moments in our nation’s history.”

See the full Times story here.