Sen. Jon Ossoff, a Democrat from Georgia, said, “Making women go through unnecessary gynecological surgery is the worst.” Newsroom
Honesty in Journalism
Senate investigators asked immigration officials about a report from both parties about how migrant women in Georgia were given bad gynecological care.
The Senate’s Permanent Investigations Subcommittee found that migrant women in Georgia’s Irwin County Detention Center were given “excessive, invasive, and often unnecessary gynecological treatments.” Many women did not agree or understand what was going on.
After the report came out, the panel asked questions of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Health Service Corps Assistant Director Stewart D. Smith and LaSalle Corrections Medical Director Pamela Hearn.
“High rates” of illegal hysterectomies were done by Dr. Mahendra Amin. “I can’t think of anything worse than detained women getting unnecessary gynecological surgery,” said the chair of the panel.
Senators heard from Dr. Margaret G. Mueller of Northwestern Medicine. She said that Amin did not have permission. “Never again,” she swore.
Karina Cisneros Preciado said that after a Pap smear, Amin told her she had an ovarian cyst. He stopped ovulating by taking Depo-Provera.
Cisneros Preciado said that she would have said no to birth control because some of her ancestors had bad experiences with it. PSI says that when another doctor looked at Cisneros Preciado, no cyst was found.
Maggie Hassan was upset that Cisneros Preciado said she never gave permission. Hassan asked Cisneros Preciado what Amin’s medical history was like.
Cisneros Preciado rejects. She still worries about doctors hurting her or her children.
At age 8, Cisneros Preciado moved to the U.S. She told senators that her 18-year marriage was terrible and that she was arrested after calling the police to save her child.
Even though the charges against her were dropped, she was sent to prison after she gave birth. When she was in jail, Cisneros Preciado breastfed. When she was freed, her child “was walking and didn’t know who I was.” She cried out.
Former ICDC inmates will sue ICDC, ICE, Amin, Irwin County Hospital, and other defendants in December 2020. They will say that gynecological procedures were done without their consent and were not necessary.
Cisneros Preciado filed a class-action lawsuit. Amin was asked to testify by the subcommittee, but “his lawyer submitted an affidavit saying he refused.”
In 2013, the DOJ and Georgia sued Amin for Medicaid fraud for making him order procedures that didn’t need to be done. In 2015, Amin and the other people who were sued settled the case for $520,000.
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Smith, who is in charge of prison health services, was asked by Ossoff about Amin’s oversight. Smith: “We had no idea there were complaints.” “As long as leakers.”
Ossoff asked Smith why Amin worked with prisoners even though he wasn’t board-certified and was being sued for Medicaid fraud. “It’s a shame,” Ossoff said. “No major screening, we hear,”
Testimony From a Whistleblower
The whistle was blown by Nurse Dawn Wooten. She said that women were sent to Amin without their permission for gynecological treatments like hysterectomies.
After Wooten’s claims, top Democrats looked into the facility. DHS told ICE that it couldn’t use ICDC after May 2021, and by September 2021, all immigration inmates had been moved.
In 2021, the ICE-LaSalle contract came to an end. LaSalle continues to maintain federal prison camps. Hearn from LaSalle said that the company doesn’t look at doctors like Amin who work off-site. USMS prisoners can be held by the ICDC.
The 100-page report is based on interviews with 70 people. Investigators looked at 541,000 pages of documents from a detention center, the government, LaSalle Corrections, and Irwin County Hospital.
Irwin County Detention Center had 4% female detainees in 2017-2020. Amin was responsible for 6.5% of all visits to an OB-GYN by detainees and 90% of important surgeries on women.
Studies show that Dr. Amin did more and different kinds of surgeries than other ICE OB-GYNs.
44 laparoscopies to remove lesions, which is 94% of all ICE procedures, and 102 Depo-Provera injections, which is 93% of all ICE injections. Detainees held by ICE had 163 restricted pelvic exams (92%) and 53 D&Cs (80%).
All of the outside medical experts who were interviewed for the PSI report agreed that Amin did not follow current medical guidelines for patient care and “treated almost all patients the same, no matter what their diagnosis or condition was.”
Lawyers and advocacy groups asked these medical experts to look at the care Amin gave to 19 ICDC detainees.
The study says that Dr. Amin was bad for women. Dr. Amin scheduled surgeries that didn’t need to be done, misread test results and gave injections and other treatments without getting permission first.
Six Amin detainees were interviewed. The investigation found that Dr. Amin’s patients felt confused, scared, and violated. “Many people said that his treatments hurt and made them confused about how to get pregnant.”
Amin said he “wasn’t allowed” to talk about how they did things. A former LPN who worked with Amin said that patients signed consent forms while they were “dozing off” from anesthesia.
According to a Senate report, ICE mistreated female migrants in Georgia.