The Uterus Collector

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on September 23, 2020
















“Georgia prison with ICE detainees performs questionable hysterectomies” The story of “the uterus collector” was the clickbait sensation for a few days. Fresh outrages have taken its place in the shiny object machine. Just how many detainees at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) had hysterectomies? Estimates range from “one or two” to “at least seventeen”.

The story broke with a report from Project South. The whistle blower was Dawn Wooten. video video Ms. Wooten, a single mother of 5, worked at ICDC, until her hours were cut, after a dispute about Covid-19 infection. As is the case with many workplace stories, there are conflicting accounts.

The focus of the complaint is inadequate safety measures, taken with regard to Covid-19. “Priyanka Bhatt, staff attorney at … Project South, told The Washington Post that she included the hysterectomy allegations because she wanted to trigger an investigation to determine if they were true.”

If ICDC did not have the resources to provide adequate safeguards against Covid-19 infection, how are they going to have the resources to provide hysterectomies? These ladies were detained over immigration issues, and many will eventually be deported. “Even on the lower end of the cost scale, a hysterectomy can cost thousands of dollars and both ICE and the private companies that contract with the agency to oversee its detention centers notoriously provide dangerous and substandard medical care to cut costs and maximize profits.”

There are some concerns about Dawn Wooten. “… Wooten described how she repeatedly complained to staff leadership before she was demoted in early July from working full time to an on-call position, where she was only offered a few hours a month — a move she charges was retaliation for speaking up and demanding stricter medical safety protocols. She has worked at the facility for three years in three separate stints as a licensed practical nurse …” The Protect Whistleblower Dawn Wooten gofundme has grossed $101,471, by the time this feature was written.

AP had a story, with a variety of headlines. If you go into the details, you see this: “The AP’s review did not find evidence of mass hysterectomies as alleged in a widely shared complaint filed by a nurse at the detention center. Dawn Wooten alleged that many detained women were taken to an unnamed gynecologist whom she labeled the “uterus collector” because of how many hysterectomies he performed. … Amin (Dr. Mahendra Amin, gynecologist accused in complaints) told the intercept, … he has only performed one or two hysterectomies in the past three years.”

“Some people who have worked with detainees at Irwin have questioned some of the allegations in the Project South complaint. Paul Alvarado, a local immigration attorney, told Insider that he was “very, very skeptical” about the allegations of unwanted hysterectomies. Alvarado estimated that he’d been to Irwin representing clients more than 100 times.”

“I’ve never heard of any sort of medical mistreatment from the clients, and I’ve represented hundreds of clients from Irwin, so it came as a shock to me when I read it,” he said. He said that while clients might complain about delays and other issues inherent to the immigration system, he hadn’t been made aware of OB-GYN concerns.”

“I’ve been an immigration lawyer for 24 years. I’m a huge proponent of immigration reform,” he said. “I’m an advocate for the rights of these undocumented aliens, and I’d be the first to get to the podium and scream if something smelled fishy — but I have not heard of any of this.” Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. UPDATE Hospital where activists say ICE detainees were subjected to hysterectomies says just two were performed there

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