"Everybody he sees has a hysterectomy-just about everybody," she said, alleging that the doctor once removed the wrong ovary from one immigrant woman and had to subsequently remove the other one and perform a complete hysterectomy.
Wooten agreed with accounts from detainees who said they had undergone hysterectomies without fully understanding what was happening.
"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 said.
"These immigrant women, I don't think they really, totally, all the way understand this is what's going to happen depending on who explains it to them."
Wooten also reported an alarming communications gap in the detention center, saying that nurses conducting sick calls would often resort to googling Spanish words or phrases in order to communicate with immigrants.
According to the complaint, another detainee was frightened and did not understand what medical procedure she was receiving; she was reportedly given three different answers by three different staffers.
The complaint also alleged a "lack of protection against COVID-19 for detained immigrants," as well as a lack of testing for the virus and a "general lack of medical care" at the center. Medical records of immigrants were allegedly shredded or fabricated.
ICE says that its detention centers are regularly inspected and that the Irwin County facility routinely met its Performance Based National Detention Standards.
However, a DHS Inspector General report from June of 2018 said that ICE inspections of its facilities-including the Irwin detention center-did not lead to compliance or improvements; the type of inspection used at Irwin was "too broad" in scope, the report concluded, was "not consistently thorough," and "ICE's guidance on procedures is unclear."
A December, 2017 report of the DHS Inspector General of five ICE facilities--not including Irwin--noted the problem of "language barriers" in obtaining proper informed consent for medical procedures on immigrants.
"At times, language barriers prevented detainees from understanding medical staff," the report stated. "Although it might have cleared up confusion, staff did not always use language translation services, which are available by phone, during medical exams of detainees."
(Story continues below)
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