POPSUGAR: A former ICE Nurse Speaks Out About Alarming Hysterectomies, Alleged COVID-19 Coverups – Government Accountability Project

A Former ICE Nurse Speaks Out About Alarming Hysterectomies, Alleged COVID-19 Coverups

This article features our client Dawn Wooten and was originally published here.

A former nurse at an immigration detention center Ocilla, GA, is speaking out about the jarring medical neglect allegedly taking place within its walls, including an alarming rate of hysterectomies and what she describes as a total disregard for the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). After leaving the Irwin County Detention Center in July, Dawn Wooten, who worked at the facility on and off for a decade,filed a complaintto the Department of Homeland Securitys Office of Inspector General on Sept. 14.Law & Crime, a legal news website, helped break the news bypublishing a story the same day the complaint was filed, which would go on to be widely covered. In an interview with MSNBCs Chris Hayes on Sept. 15,Wooten shed more light on what what she witnessed.

I have a title as a licensed practical nurse, and I protect my title with dignity.

As a human, you just dont treat people inhumane. I have a title as a licensed practical nurse, and I protect my title with dignity, Wooten told Hayes. The complaint alleges that a high rate of hysterectomies are being performed by an unnamed gynecologist outside of ICDC. One detained immigrant quoted in the complaint, who compared ICDC to an experimental concentration camp, said she knew five women who had undergone the surgery, and many of them were unsure why they were subjected to the surgery in the first place. Wooten, meanwhile, says she knew of one woman who needed to have her left ovary removed due to a cyst, and the gynecologist erroneously removed the right ovary.

In her MSNBC interview, Wooten recalled a remark once made by a detained immigrant: What is he? Is he the uterus collector? Does he collect uteruses? . . . Everybody that I talk to has had a hysterectomy. Wooten said, I had no answers as to why they had those procedures.

The facilitys handling of the novel coronavirus also raises concerns: ICDC allegedly refused to test detained immigrants for the virus, hid documentation that did show proof of cases within the facility, and allowed for symptomatic employees to continue working as they await test results. Wooten said, The sanitation, especially during COVID, was horrible. We didnt have anything to sanitize with. We didnt have the proper PPE, so they didnt have the proper PPE . . . And when you asked, you would be reprimanded. Wooten, who has sickle cell anemia and asthmatic children, voiced her concerns until she was eventually demoted.

The same day the complaint was filed, several congresspeople includingAyanna Pressley,Judy Chu,Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, andPramila Jayapalcalled for an official investigation into its claims. In a statement shared on Sept. 15, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, If true, the appalling conditions described in the whistleblower complaint including allegations of mass hysterectomies being performed on vulnerable immigrant women are a staggering abuse of human rights. She added, Congress and the American people need to know why and under what conditions so many women, reportedly without their informed consent, were pushed to undergo this extremely invasive and life-altering procedure.

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POPSUGAR: A former ICE Nurse Speaks Out About Alarming Hysterectomies, Alleged COVID-19 Coverups - Government Accountability Project

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