Migrant women to no longer see doctor accused of misconduct

National/World

FILE – In this Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, file photo, Dawn Wooten, left, a nurse at Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia, speaks at a news conference in Atlanta protesting conditions at the immigration jail. Immigration authorities have stopped sending detained women at the Irwin County Detention Center to a rural Georgia gynecologist accused of performing surgeries without consent, a government spokesman said Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Amy, File)

HOUSTON (AP) — Immigration authorities have stopped sending detained women to a rural Georgia gynecologist accused of performing surgeries without consent, a government spokesman said Tuesday.

Dr. Mahendra Amin faces allegations that he administered hysterectomies and other procedures that women held at the Irwin County Detention Center didn’t seek or fully understand. Amin has seen at least 60 detained women, said Andrew Free, a lawyer working with other attorneys to investigate medical care at Irwin County, on Tuesday.

Bryan Cox, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, confirmed that Amin would no longer see patients from the detention center, but declined to comment further, citing an ongoing investigation by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general.

The Irwin County Hospital issued a statement defending Amin, saying he “is a long-time member of the Irwin County Hospital medical staff and has been in good standing for the entirety of his service to the Irwin County community.”

The statement did not address Amin’s role as chief executive of MGA Health Management, a company that began managing the Irwin County Hospital in 1996, according to the hospital’s website.

According to the statement, Amin operated on two detained women who were referred to the hospital for hysterectomies. Heath Clark, the hospital’s general counsel, did not respond to questions about whether Amin performed hysterectomies in cases where the women had a different initial referral. Clark also did not say how many other procedures he had performed that could jeopardize a woman’s ability to have children, including the removal of fallopian tubes or ovaries.

Scott Grubman, a lawyer for Amin, did not respond to a request for comment.

The allegations against the doctor were first revealed in a complaint filed last week by a nurse at Irwin County Detention Center. The nurse, Dawn Wooten, alleged that many detained women were taken to an unnamed gynecologist whom she labeled the “uterus collector” because of how many hysterectomies he performed.

The Associated Press on Friday reported that at least eight women since 2017 had been taken to see Amin for gynecological treatment, though it did not find evidence of mass hysterectomies as alleged in the complaint. Free said Tuesday that a team of lawyers had heard from dozens of more women raising concerns about the doctor.

“It’s long past time to stop sending women to this physician and to companies that provide services on his behalf,” he said, adding that he was concerned women detained at the facility could potentially face retaliation for coming forward about the doctor.

Scott Sutterfield, an executive at LaSalle Corrections, which operates the detention center, said the company would not “take or threaten any action” against detainees who report information “in good faith.”

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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