Outrage, calls for probe as US nurse raises alarm over mass hysterectomies

Media reports say an Indian-descent gynecologist conducted hysterectomies on immigrants without their full understanding and consent at a private detention centre in Georgia

A whistleblower complaint filed in the US has sparked calls for a federal probe after it was alleged that an Indian-descent gynecologist had conducted mass hysterectomies on immigrants without their full understanding and consent at a privately-run detention centre in the state of Georgia.

The complaint, filed by an employee of the detention centre, did not identify him. But lawyers representing the victims have named the doctor as Mahendra Amin, according to US media reports.

“We are aware of the whistleblower’s allegations as they relate to Dr Amin and we vehemently deny them,” said Scott Grubman, the doctor’s attorney, in a statement. “We look forward to all of the facts coming out and are confident that, once they do, Dr Amin will be cleared of any wrongdoing.”

Amin, 68, is an obstetrics and gynecology specialist. Prism, the news website that first reported the whistleblower complaint, said he is based in Douglas, Georgia and is affiliated with Coffee Regional Medical Center, which has since removed references to Amin from its website.

According to reports, Amin studied medicine at the Government Medical College of South Gujarat University in Surat, India, and also interned there at a hospital.

On Wednesday, 173 Democratic members of the House of Representatives wrote to the US department of homeland security, demanding an investigation into the whistleblower’s complaint.

Pramila Jayapal, Indian-American congresswoman who initiated the joint letter along with senior party leaders, said, “It appears that there may be at minimum 17 to 18 women who were subjected to unnecessary medical gynecological procedures from just this one doctor, often without appropriate consent or knowledge, and with the clear intention of sterilisation.”

Dawn Wooten, a licensed nurse employed by Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) operated by private prison company, LaSalle Corrections, had filed the whistleblower complaint through Project South, a non-profit, with the inspector general of the department of homeland security on Monday. Wooten’s complaint alleged the conduct of mass hysterectomies amid rampant disregard for Covid-19 guidelines and unsanitary conditions at the facility.

Project South said it learnt about the hysterectomies in interviews with multiple inmates. One of them reportedly confirmed, “A lot of women here go through a hysterectomy.” Also, some women subjected to the procedure reportedly seemed “confused” why they were made to undergo it.

Wooten’s account, in her own words, is chilling. “Everybody he sees has a hysterectomy, just about everybody. He’s even taken out the wrong ovary on a young lady,” Wooten reportedly said, recalling a particular case. “She (the victim) was supposed to get her left ovary removed because it had a cyst. He took out the right one. She was upset, she had to go back to take out the left ovary and she wound up with a total hysterectomy.

“She wants 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 (the doctor) tell the nurse that he took out the wrong ovary.”

The outrage sparked by the allegations was fuelled by a well-documented and alarming history of sterilisation of people of colour in the US aimed at preventing the rapid growth of their population.

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