Washington — A congressional investigation into allegations of medical abuse that garnered national attention in 2020 found that some immigrant women held by U.S. immigration officials at a Georgia detention center were “unnecessarily” aggressive gynecological patients, according to a report released Tuesday. Had to go through procedures.
An 18-month bipartisan investigation by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation reviewed allegations that women detained by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Irvine County Detention Center in Oscilla, Georgia, committed medical neglect, lax coronavirus mitigation policies and Had tolerated questionable procedures, including hysterectomy.
The allegations first surfaced in an explosive September 2020 whistleblower complaint by Don Wooten, who worked as a nurse at the Osilla detention facility.
The 108-page report of the investigation is to be formally presented by Georgia Democratic Senator John Osoff, chairman of the subcommittee, later Tuesday during a hearing that included officials from ICE, the Homeland Security Inspector General and LaSalle Corrections, private company operations. are doing. The Ocilla facility is set to testify after testimony from Wooten as well as a former immigrant detainee and physicians.
Tuesday’s report said investigators did not “confirm the allegations of massive hysterectomy.” But investigators said they found “serious issues” about medical procedures and policies at the Georgia facility and the conduct of Mahendra Amin, a doctor accused by Irvine County detainees of performing questionable medical procedures in 2020, including In some cases, including without patients. ‘Complete consent.
Biden administration in May 2021ICE will stop detaining immigrants at the Irvine County facility as part of an effort to improve immigration detention. ICE did not immediately respond to a request to comment on the subcommittee’s findings. CBS News also contacted representatives for Amin and LaSalle Reforms, which still runs the Osilla facility under contract with the US Marshall Service.
The congressional subcommittee, citing more than 16,600 pages of medical records relating to 94 women treated by Amin, concluded that “female detainees undergo excessive, invasive and often unnecessary gynecological procedures.”
Investigators said Dr. Peter Cherouni, an obstetrician-gynecologist who reviewed the women’s medical records, said Amin’s approach to surgical procedures was “too aggressive.” Cherouni found Amin’s care antiquated, calling it “very good medicine for the 1980s, but we’re not there anymore.”
The report states, “Dr. Cherauni reported that examination of the records of 40 out of 94 patients indicated that Dr. Amin had benign ovarian cysts removed, despite the fact that benign ovarian cysts are usually resolve without surgical intervention.”
The risks associated with these surgeries include infection, bleeding, pain, and even infertility, Cherauni said in the report.
The report said six women previously detained told investigators that Amin was “rude and insensitive” during medical procedures and failed to come about her diagnosis and treatment plans.
“These women described feeling confused, scared and violated after being treated by Dr. Amin,” investigators said. “Many reported that they still live with physical pain and the uncertainty that their treatment has an impact on their fertility.”
The subcommittee called Amin “a clear outlier” in the number and types of gynecological procedures performed on ICE detainees. Ultimately, the subcommittee’s investigation found that Dr. Amin only had two hysterectomies, one in 2017 and one in 2019, that ICE deemed medically necessary,” the report said. “However, the subcommittee found that Dr. Amin performed an unusually high number of other gynecological procedures on ICDC detainees.”
While the Irvine County Detention Center placed 4% of women in ICE custody between 2017 and 2020, the report said, Amin performed more than 80% of certain gynecological procedures on detainees across the US during that time, including Includes laparoscopy, Depo-Provera injection, limited. Pelvic examination and dilation and curettage procedures.
According to the report, investigators tried to interview Amin, but his requests for voluntary testimony were denied. After the subcommittee issued a subpoena for his testimony, Amin said through his attorney that he “refused to testify in accordance with his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.”
Investigators said Amin was under criminal investigation by the federal government earlier this year. The subcommittee said a separate internal investigation by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and a federal lawsuit related to medical procedures for immigrants conducted at the Irvine County facility is ongoing.
Tuesday’s report found that ICE does not have a policy to obtain the consent of immigrants for medical procedures conducted outside facilities maintained by the agency. ICE officials told the subcommittee that obtaining informed consent from patients is the sole professional obligation of the off-site provider, the report said.
The investigation also uncovered 659 reports of detainees describing “delayed or poor medical care” at the Irvine County Detention Center between 2018 and 2020. Investigators said ICE and LaSalle Corrections, the private company that oversees the Georgia detention facility, “failed to take effective corrective action” to address complaints.
In addition, the report raised questions about ICE’s testing and inspection procedures for medical providers. The subcommittee noted that prior to the whistleblower complaint of September 2020, ICE was not aware of multiple malpractice claims against Amin and other physicians or of a federal lawsuit against him.
Investigators noted that Amin was not board certified, and was prosecuted in 2013 by Georgia and Justice Department officials who claimed he committed Medicaid fraud “by ordering unnecessary and excessive medical procedures.” The report said the case was settled in 2015, with Amin and his codependents paying $520,000, but not admitting to any wrongdoing.