Tuesday, September 15, 2020

ICE Nurse Alleges Hysterectomies Performed on Immigrant Women Without Informed Consent


Here's a story that I'd like to file on the category !*%&*!

Yesterday, the Institute for the Elimination of Poverty and Genocide sent an open letter to the Office of Inspector General of DHS (and others) detailing concerns with the Irwin County Detention Center.

The letter details the complaints of whistleblower Dawn Wooten, a licensed practical nurse employed at the facility.

The letter is 27 pages long. On page two, it states: "this complaint raises red flags regarding the rate at which hysterectomies are performed on immigrant women under ICE custody at ICDC." Jump ahead to page 18 and there are more details. In Wooten's words (from page 19):

Everybody he sees has a hysterectomy—just about everybody. He’s even taken out the wrong ovary on a young lady [detained immigrant woman]. She was supposed to get her left ovary removed because it had a cyst on the left ovary; he took out the right one. She was upset. She had to go back to take out the left and she wound up with a total hysterectomy. She still wanted children—so she has to go back home now and tell her husband that she can’t bear kids... she said she was not all the way out under anesthesia and heard him [doctor] tell the nurse that he took the wrong ovary.

The entire letter is worth reading. It also discusses protections against COVID-19, or the lack thereof, as well as a general lack of medical care.

Writing as a law professor in Oklahoma, I'm reminded (and not in a positive way) of the Supreme Court case Skinner v. Oklahoma, regarding eugenic sterilization. That was a 1942 decision. Wooten's complaint is about actions in 2020. How are we still talking about the practice of sterilization without consent?



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