“Medical negligence”, “uterine collection”, “silent pandemic” … A nurse at a detention center in Georgia, in the southern United States, condemned the mistreatment of immigrant inmates, especially many hysterectomies. A complaint was filed Monday by several NGOs, including Project South, with the U.S. government.
A nurse from the Georgia Private Detention Center, 300 kilometers south of Atlanta, sounded the alarm. Dawn Wooten, 42, who has been incarcerated for more than ten years, filed a complaint on Monday, September 14, condemning the deplorable sanitary conditions regarding the detained immigrants.
According to his testimony collected by NGO Project South, several female prisoners who complained of heavy menstrual cycles were referred to a gynecologist who underwent hysterectomy – a surgical procedure that involves removing all or part of the uterus. “Almost everyone who visits him has a hysterectomy,” the whistleblower worries.
Her testimony, which she also gave to the news site The Intercept, agrees with other employees who preferred to remain anonymous.
“An experimental concentration camp”
Four migrant women detained at the center also expressed concern in the Project South report about the large number of immigrants who have had hysterectomy. One of them met five who were operated on between October and December 2019. “When I met all these women who underwent this operation, I thought to myself that it looked like an experimental concentration camp. It was as if they were experimenting on our bodies,” he said. she. responded.
The identity of the gynecologist who consults outside the detention center is not stated in the report. Dawn Wooten calls him a “uterine collector”.
If problems related to the ovaries can justify a hysterectomy, Dawn Wooten notes that the action becomes almost systematic for immigrants who go to this gynecologist. And underlines the fact that these women, mostly Spanish-speaking, seem poorly or a little informed about the operation they have undergone.
Compulsory sterilization programs have already been revealed in the United States. In July 2013 in particular, the Center for Investigative Reporting accused the California State Prison Administration of using this practice on at least 148 women imprisoned between 2006 and 2010.
Whistleblowers also report serious medical errors, such as a right ovary removed instead of the left. “The inmate, who was not completely anesthetized when she left the operation, heard the doctor tell the nurse that he had not removed the coupon. She had to go back to get the other one. Ovarian due to a cyst.” upset “, she continues. “She still wanted children but had to tell her husband she could not bear more.”
These allegations confirm what immigrant prisoners have reported for several years: a clear violation of health and safety standards, lack of medical care and unhealthy living conditions, the Project South report says.
No Covid-19 tests or a quarantine zone
At this point, sanitation conditions have “only deteriorated” in the face of the threat from Covid-19, Dawn Wooten assures. She describes a “silent pandemic” raging behind bars in the center: no tests for immigrants showing symptoms of the virus, no respect for quarantine zones … Several Latin American prisoners condemned these sanitary conditions in a video last April, asking for help .
The working conditions are hardly brilliant for the centre’s employees. In her interview with The Intercept, the nurse assures that the nursing staff had to continue working even though he showed symptoms of Covid-19. Errors that, according to her, cost the life of her administrative manager, Marion Cole, who died of the virus in May last year.
Since her several cries of alarm, Dawn Wooten claims to have been demoted in July. His full-time position turned into “on-demand” shifts without “appropriate explanation or justification“. The experience is now under protection.