ICE whistleblower: Nurse alleges 'hysterectomies on immigrant women in US'
Advocacy groups have filed a complaint against a migrant detention centre in the US, alleging medical neglect and a lack of virus safety measures.
The complaint condemns the practices and conditions at the private Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia.
It is based on the allegations of a whistleblower, a nurse identified as Dawn Wooten.
She worked at the centre, which houses immigrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
As part of her complaint, filed on Monday, Ms Wooten expressed concerns about the high number of hysterectomies performed on Spanish-speaking women at the centre.
The nurse said detained women told her they did not fully understand why they had to get a hysterectomy - an operation involving the removal of all or part of the uterus.
The complaint details "jarring accounts from detained immigrants and Ms Wooten regarding the deliberate lack of medical care, unsafe work practices, and absence of adequate protection against Covid-19".
It summarises the disclosures Ms Wooten made to the DHS's watchdog, and quotes unidentified detainees extensively.
In a written testimony submitted to Congress in July, LaSalle Corrections said its facilities had been tracking the outbreak "regularly updating infection prevention and control protocols".
The complaint also said that Ms Wooten and other nurses were alarmed by the "rate at which the hysterectomies have occurred" at the centre.
Ms Wooten alleged that one doctor removed the wrong ovary from a young detainee and that "everybody he sees has a hysterectomy".
"We've questioned among ourselves like, goodness he's taking everybody's stuff out…That's his speciality, he's the uterus collector," she said in the complaint.
One detainee, interviewed by Project South, likened the centre to "an experimental concentration camp", adding: "It was like they're experimenting with our bodies."
Other allegations include delaying medical care for detained immigrants. Ms Wooten alleged that it was "common practice for the sick call nurse to shred medical request forms from detained immigrants".
Project South lawyer Priyanka Bhatt said on Tuesday there have been reports about issues surrounding women's health at the facility going back several years, including lack of prenatal care.