As Blavity previously reported, Wooten and lawyers with Project South, Georgia Detention Watch, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights and South Georgia Immigrant Support Network filed a whistleblower complaint on Monday which included dozens of instances of medical malpractice and outright cruelty towards the migrants being held at Georgia's Irwin County Detention Center.
The accusation that has caused the most outrage is that gynecologist Mahendra Amin allegedly performed hysterectomies on multiple women without their consent. Amin, who is an immigrant himself, was not named in the complaint but was discovered a day later by reporters with Prism.
In her interview with MSNBC host Chris Hayes, Wooten explained what migrant women told her while she worked as a nurse at the detention center.
"I had several detained women on numerous occasions that would come to me and say 'Ms. Wooten, I had a hysterectomy. Why?' I had no answers as to why they had those procedures. One lady walked up to me this last time around between October 2019 until July 2. She asked 'What is he? Is he the uterus collector? Does he collect uteruses?'" Wooten recalled to Hayes.
"And I asked her what does she mean. She said, 'Everybody that I talk to has had a hysterectomy.' You just don't know what to say. I don't have an answer for why they would come to me and ask, 'is he the uterus collector?'" she added.
Multiple members of Congress have called for an investigation into the Irwin detention center and a spokesperson for ICE has denied the allegations, writing in a statement that their records show only two women have had hysterectomies performed on them since 2018.
In her complaint, Wooten said she and other nurses expressed concern about all of the women being sent to have hysterectomies done and others raised issues about the facility's lack of coronavirus protections for both workers and migrants detained there.
Responding to allegations that hysterectomies are being performed without consent on immigrants detained at the Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia, ICE says that only two such procedures have been done on women there since 2018, contrary to whistleblower complaints. pic.twitter.com/yVwlqYn7VC— Caitlin Dickerson (@itscaitlinhd) September 15, 2020
“I’ve had several inmates tell me that they’ve been to see the doctor and they’ve had hysterectomies and they don’t know why they went or why they’re going,” she wrote.
One of the main problems she raises is the lack of translation services to properly explain to women what is being done or what their options are, according to Wooten's complaint.
Outside of the moral atrocities of the alleged procedures being done without consent, some have questioned why ICE would go to such lengths considering how expensive the surgery is.
While many have pointed to the U.S. government's very long history with performing sterilization and hysterectomies on Black and Latina women, others have wondered whether it was simply a scam by Amin to milk the detention center for more money by suggesting more costly operations.
In 2015, Amin was at the center of a Justice Department lawsuit that involved the doctor and others causing "false claims to be submitted to Medicare and Medicaid." Amin and eight other doctors paid $520,000 to resolve the allegations.