Nineteen women allege ‘medical abuse; by Dr. Mahendra Amin, primary gynecologist for the Irwin County Detention Center
The number of women alleging medical abuses in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Georgia has risen to 19, according to a disturbing report raising claims of unnecessary surgeries performed without consent.
The 19 women were all patients of Dr. Mahendra Amin, the primary gynecologist for the Irwin County Detention Center, according to a five-page report submitted to members of Congress on Thursday.
It follows a whistleblower’s claim last month that a doctor at the facility was performing unnecessary hysterectomies.
‘Both Dr. Amin and the referring detention facility took advantage of the vulnerability of women in detention to pressure them to agree to overly aggressive, inappropriate, and unconsented medical care,’ the report states, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The women in question say they were pressured to undergo ‘overly aggressive’ or ‘medically unnecessary’ surgery without their consent, including procedures that affect their ability to have children.
Members of Congress are seen inspecting the Irwin County Detention Center last month
A detainee’s drawing shows a question mark within a uterus. A growing number of women allege medical abuse, including forced sterilizations, at the Irwin County Detention Center
The new report was written by a team of nine board-certified OB-GYNs and two nursing experts, who reviewed more than 3,200 pages of records obtained for the 19 women.
It follows a series of disturbing allegations about the Irwin facility, which have prompted a Congressional inquiry and federal investigation. Last month, immigration authorities stopped sending women to the facility pending the investigation.
Bryan Cox, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, confirmed in September that Amin would no longer see patients from the detention center, but declined to comment further, citing an ongoing investigation by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general.
The Irwin County Hospital issued a statement defending Amin, saying he ‘is a long-time member of the Irwin County Hospital medical staff and has been in good standing for the entirety of his service to the Irwin County community.’
The statement did not address Amin’s role as chief executive of MGA Health Management, a company that began managing the Irwin County Hospital in 1996, according to the hospital’s website.
Left, A drawing on a medical consent form depicts a woman crying. Right, a drawing in support of the Georgia immigration detainees states in Spanish ‘Alto al maltrato,’ or ‘Stop the abuse’
Dawn Wooten, a nurse at Irwin County Detention Center, speaks at a news conference in Atlanta protesting conditions at the immigration jail last month
Demonstrators gather outside of Irwin County Detention Center last month
The report sent to Congress on Thursday was produced in coordination with a coalition of advocates and lawyers representing the 19 women.
The coalition members are from Project South, the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, Georgia Detention Watch, the South Georgia Immigrant Support Network, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative, the American Immigration Lawyers Assn. and Innovation Law Lab.
According to the Times, the report says that women under Amin’s care were administered birth control and underwent procedures without their consent, including to remove their reproductive organs, such as the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes.
One woman, 28, said that she awoke chained to a bed after Amin performed a cystectomy and ‘dilation and curettage,’ a procedure to scrape tissue from inside her uterus, without her consent.
Scott Grubman, Amin’s lawyer, said in an emailed statement to The Times that he is ‘legally prohibited from responding to anything related to medical care on a specific patient without that patient signing a HIPAA release allowing him to do so.’
Detained immigrants play soccer behind a barbed wire fence at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia on February 20, 2018
A drawing supporting the immigration detainees in Georgia states, ‘Close this matadero,’ or ‘Close this slaughterhouse’
‘Dr. Amin strongly denies all of the allegations, many of which have already been proven false,’ Grubman continued. ‘We have gathered evidence and spoken with various witnesses … who confirm that Dr. Amin always acted appropriately with patients, obtained informed consent, and used translators/interpreters whenever necessary.
‘Dr. Amin is a highly respected physician who has dedicated his adult life to treating a high-risk, underserved population in rural Georgia. Dr. Amin is fully cooperating with investigators and looks forward to the investigations clearing his good name and reputation.’
The allegations against the doctor were first revealed in a complaint filed in September by a nurse at Irwin County Detention Center.
The nurse, Dawn Wooten, alleged that many detained women were taken to an unnamed gynecologist whom she labeled the ‘uterus collector’ because of how many hysterectomies he performed.