- The gynecologist at the center of a whistleblower complaint about hysterectomies being performed on detained women in Georgia without their knowledge or consent has been identified by NBC News.
- Lawyers for the detained women identified the man as Dr. Mahendra Amin, NBC News reported. Business Insider was not able to independently confirm.
- Amin told the Intercept he only performed “one or two hysterectomies in the past two [or] three years,” but did not specify if those procedures were on detained women.
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Lawyers have identified a gynecologist at the center of a whistleblower complaint filed by a nurse alleging abuses, including hysterectomies, at an immigration detention center in Georgia, NBC News reported.
In a whistleblower complaint sent by Project South to the Department of Homeland Security and its inspector general, a nurse named Dawn Wooten accused Irwin County Detention Center of allowing an unusual number of hysterectomies to be performed on immigrants detained there, often, she alleged, without their consent.
Wooten said the women were sent to a doctor outside the facility, who chose to remove all or some parts of their uterus, or womb.
While Wooten did not identify the doctor, lawyers for detained women identified the doctor as Mahendra Amin who practices Douglas, Georgia. NBC News reported that Amin continued to see women from the facility for the past several years despite complaints from his patients. The Intercept also identified Amin through interviews with a detainee, two detainee advocates, and a former Irwin employee.
“We’ve questioned among ourselves like goodness he’s taking everybody’s stuff out,” Wooten said, according to the complaint, adding: “That’s his specialty, he’s the uterus collector. I know that’s ugly … is he collecting these things or something … Everybody he sees, he’s taking all their uteruses out or he’s taken their tubes out. What in the world.”
In 2o15, Amin was investigated by the Justice Department for making false claims to Medicaid and Medicare. He and another doctor involved paid $525,000 in a civil settlement.
Amin has ties to Irwin County Hospital, where some detainees at the detention center are taken for treatment.
Business Insider couldn’t reach Amin for comment on Tuesday but he told the Intercept that he only performed “one or two hysterectomies in the past two [or] three years.” However, he didn’t answer whether those procedures were down on people detained at Irwin.
“Everything is wrong, and if you want to talk, talk to the hospital administrator,” Amin told the Intercept about Irwin County Hospital.
He said the allegations are ruining his practice.
No one from Irwin County Hospital was available for comment when reached by Business Insider, but CEO Paige Wynn told the Intercept that consent was obtained for all surgical procedures.
“We do not do any surgeries that do not have prior consent from ICE and the patients,” Wynn said. “We cannot specifically comment on any specific patient matter due to patient privacy obligations.”
After the initial whistleblower report, ICE told Business Insider: “US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not comment on matters presented to the Office of the Inspector General, which provides independent oversight and accountability within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ICE takes all allegations seriously and defers to the OIG regarding any potential investigation and/or results. That said, in general, anonymous, unproven allegations, made without any fact-checkable specifics, should be treated with the appropriate skepticism they deserve.”
One former Irwin employee told the Intercept that Amin is the only gynecologist who treats those who are detained.
“All I know is, if you go in for anything, the majority of the time, he’s going to suggest surgery,” the former Irwin employee said. “I don’t know why. I just — I don’t know why. He does a lot of surgeries.”
The detention facility, which houses not only immigration detainees but also inmates from the US Marshalls and Irwin County, is operated by LaSalle Corrections, a private prison company, Law and Crime reported.
“LaSalle Corrections has a strict zero tolerance policy for any kind of inappropriate behavior in our facilities and takes all allegations of such mistreatment seriously,” LaSalle said in a statement to NBC News. “Our company strongly refutes these allegations and any implications of misconduct at the ICDC.”
A lawyer who worked with Southern Poverty Law Center between 2017 and 2019 and represented several women who were treated by Amin told NBC News she brought up their complaints to managers at the facility.
“Two to three years ago, I had a face-to-face conversation with (someone in management). I was so disturbed. I begged her to get my client treatment with a different doctor. I told her I had heard from multiple people that he was rough, that they were scared to go to him, that they didn’t understand what he was doing,” Elizabeth Mathren told NBC News.
Other lawyers including Benjamin Osorio said their clients had hysterectomies performed on them that they didn’t think were necessary. One client said she was told she had the procedure because she had stage 4 cervical cancer. She later went to an oncologist who said she didn’t have cancer.