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19 women allege medical abuse while in Georgia immigration detention center

By Molly O'Toole, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi 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."

The Homeland Security department pays independent doctors such as Amin, who practices gynecology in nearby Douglas, Georgia, for the procedures they perform on patients in immigration detention.

According to the report, women were referred to Amin even for clearly non-gynecological complaints, such as rib pain or a belly button hernia. Then he "pressured" them into or performed procedures or surgeries that weren't medically necessary, or to which they never consented, the report said.

In one example, the report noted that Amin performed a transvaginal ultrasound on a 35-year-old woman who'd requested treatment for hot flashes — and had no reproductive organs to examine because she'd previously undergone a total hysterectomy.

If women refused or pushed back on the procedures recommended by Amin, some were retaliated against, the report said, including being involuntarily sent for psychiatric evaluation.

Five of Amin's patients interviewed by the Times, whose cases were reviewed as part of the report, shared similar stories about their surgeries and they said the doctor had a reputation at the Georgia facility.

 

"We found it to be weird that so many women were having the same surgeries," said Shereace, 34, who asked to be identified by her first name for protection since she's been deported to Jamaica, a country she left when she was 5 years old.

She requested to see Amin because her previous doctor had told her to monitor her abnormal pap smears. After she woke up from one procedure, she said Amin told her her 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 says she's still not sure what Amin did because she hasn't been able to afford to go to the doctor.

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