Nineteen women in a Georgia immigration detention center alleged that a doctor forced or urged them to undergo “unnecessary” gynecological surgery, including procedures that affect fertility.

The women came in after a nurse at the Irwin County Detention Center filed a 27-page whistleblower complaint about medical abuse at the facility last month. It sparked a national outcry and led to federal investigations and inquiries by Congress.

All 19 women were patients of Dr. Mahendra Amin, the facility’s primary gynecologist, according to a five-page report by the LA Times presented to Congress members Thursday.

The report was written by a team of gynecologists and nursing professionals who, according to the publication, had reviewed more than 3,200 pages of women’s files.

They wrote that records showed an “alarming pattern” in which Amin underwent unjustified gynecological surgeries on women, often without consent.

Some of the women are yet to be told what procedures were carried out on them as incomplete records and efforts to obstruct the team’s requests for the documents were prevented, the report said.

Azedeh Shahshahani, a legal director at Project South who helped file the original lawsuit, told Newsweek, “These shocking revelations underscore the extent of the egregious abuses at the Irwin County Detention Center.

“The fact that black and brown immigrant women are held in this prison in an extremely vulnerable position, where they have no control over their bodies and no say in what is done to them, is disgusting.”

Shahshahani called for the center to be closed immediately and the detainees released.

She said, “The United States government, as well as the private prison society that operates this prison, should be held accountable.”

Tony Pham, spokesman for the Director of Immigration and Customs (ICE), told Newsweek the allegations raise “serious concerns that deserve quick and thorough investigation.”

He said ICE welcomed the review and that anyone who violated its policies and procedures should be held accountable.

He said, “If these allegations are true, it is my responsibility to make the necessary corrections to ensure that the health, welfare and safety of ICE prisoners continues to be a priority.”

How the allegations of medical abuse came about

On September 14, Dawn Wooten, a registered nurse who worked full-time at the Irwin County Detention Center through July, filed a complaint with the Inspector General of Homeland Security through a coalition of advocacy groups.

She claimed to have seen “harrowing medical neglect” at the facility, including a refusal to test symptomatic detained immigrants for coronavirus, medical inquiries and the preparation of medical records.

However, the complaint also states that it “is raising red flags in the detention center regarding the frequency with which hysterectomies are performed on immigrant women”.

In the complaint, Wooten said several women told her that their uterus had been removed without her consent.

The document contained a statement from one prisoner who said that their medical treatment had shaken and confused them, and that it “felt like they were trying to play with my body.”

She claimed she had been given various explanations for the procedure she was going to undergo, from removing her uterus to severing the tissues. Ultimately, the hospital refused surgery because it tested positive for coronavirus antibodies.

In an interview with The Intercept that first covered the complaint, Wooten said, “You don’t want to see what you see. You are responsible for the lives of others.”

The complaint was submitted by advocacy organizations Project South, Georgia Detention Watch, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, and the South Georgia Immigrant Support Network.

The day after filing, House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats called for an investigation into the allegations.

Pelosi said in a statement, “If it is true, the appalling conditions described in the whistleblower complaint – including allegations that at-risk immigrant women have had mass hysterectomies – are a terrifying violation of human rights.”

Since then, data released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Irwin County Hospital show two complete hysterectomies in the past three years, according to The New York Times.

Meanwhile, a team of experts conducted the latest review with a coalition of lawyers and attorneys representing the women, including the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the Innovation Law Lab.

The report details the allegations of 19 women who felt pressured by Amin or who had surgery without their consent.

Newsweek has sought comments from all organizations involved and is working to obtain a copy of the report.

What the report claims

The women cared for by Amin underwent surgery, including removal of their uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes, without their consent, according to the report and the Times’ interviews with the alleged victims.

The five-page document allegedly stated: “Both Dr. Amin and the assigning facility took advantage of the vulnerability of women in custody to pressure them to agree to overly aggressive, inadequate and unwilling medical care.”

Patients with non-gynecological complaints such as a broken belly button or rib pain were reportedly referred to Amin, who pushed them to do so without their consent or performed medically unnecessary procedures.

The report allegedly said that Amin performed a transvaginal ultrasound, meaning no reproductive organs were examined, on a 35-year-old woman who had previously undergone a hysterectomy.

The Times said that several of the report’s authors, as well as the women and their lawyers, had not been given their medical records.

The report also said that the records kept by Irwin County Hospital and Amin Detention Center “appear incomplete” and they have continued to obstruct requests for medical records, leaving many of the women unaware of what was done to them.

What the women said

One woman, Amanda, 28, told the LA Times that she woke up chained to a hospital bed from an operation and immediately asked a nurse, “Do I still have ovaries? Can I still have children? “

She said Amin performed a cystectomy and “dilation and curettage” without her consent, claims the Times reports back up through her medical records.

Shereace, 34, told the publication that she asked to see Amin after her former doctor told her to monitor her abnormal Pap smears.

She said that after she woke up from surgery, he told her that she had “damaged” fallopian tubes and that she would never be able to have children. Without the money to pay a doctor, she’s still not sure what Amin did to her.

Wendy Dowe, 48, who was deported to Jamaica in May after living in the United States for more than 20 years, said the detention center “treats you like you are not human”.

She said she had to write to Amin’s doctor’s office to ask what type of surgery she had.

Dowe told the Times that she refused to have a hysterectomy after Amin and others asked her, “How many children do you have? Well, I don’t see why you can’t take it out. “

Yuridia, a 36-year-old immigrant from Mexico, told the New York Times that she suffered from rib pain after an argument with her abusive ex-partner, shortly before she was caught by immigration and customs.

She told the publication that during her medical exam with Amin, she assumed they were going to examine her rib. “The next thing I know is he’s doing a vaginal exam,” she said.

In his notes, Amin reportedly wrote that Yuridia had ovarian cysts and he was planning surgery to remove them. He also noted that she reported heavy menstruation and abdominal pain, conditions she claims she never experienced or complained about.

She eventually underwent the operation, but pathology reports show the cysts were small, not dangerous, and did not require surgery, the New York Times reported.

What the detention center and the doctor said

Newsweek has Immigration and Customs Enforcement, LaSalle Corrections, Homeland Security and Dr. Amin’s attorney, Scott Grubman, asked for comment.

Grubman told the LA Times that Amin “strongly denies” all allegations.

He said, “We have gathered evidence and spoken to various witnesses … who confirm that Dr. Amin has always treated patients appropriately, obtained informed consent, and used translators / interpreters when necessary.”

“Dr. Amin is a highly respected medical practitioner who has dedicated his adult life to treating a high-risk, underserved population in rural Georgia. Dr. Amin is fully cooperative with investigators and looks forward to the investigations that make up his reputation and his confirm good reputation. “

Scott Sutterfield, a spokesman for LaSalle Corrections, also told the newspaper, “We are confident that the facts show the very malicious intent of others to advance a purely political agenda.

“LaSalle Corrections is well known to provide high quality medical services in safe, decent living environments, and our company strongly rejects any claims to the contrary.”