Friday, September 18, 2020

An update on the possible mass sterilization of migrants case.

More evidence of a lack of informed consent, and a lack of complete medical records which would answer critical questions

But perhaps--perhaps--not mass hysterectomies. 

Regardless, the pressure needs to be kept up.

Sitting across from her lawyer at an immigration detention center in rural Georgia, Mileidy Cardentey Fernandez unbuttoned her jail jumpsuit to show the scars on her abdomen. There were three small, circular marks.

The 39-year-old woman from Cuba was told only that she would undergo an operation to treat her ovarian cysts, but a month later, she’s still not sure what procedure she got. After Cardentey repeatedly requested her medical records to find out, Irwin County Detention Center gave her more than 100 pages showing a diagnosis of cysts but nothing from the day of the surgery.

“The only thing they told me was: ‘You’re going to go to sleep and when you wake up, we will have finished,’” Cardentey said this week in a phone interview.

Cardentey kept her hospital bracelet. It has the date, Aug. 14, and part of the doctor’s name, Dr. Mahendra Amin, a gynecologist linked this week to allegations of unwanted hysterectomies and other procedures done on detained immigrant women that jeopardize their ability to have children.

An Associated Press review of medical records for four women and interviews with lawyers revealed growing allegations that Amin performed surgeries and other procedures on detained immigrants that they never sought or didn’t fully understand. Although some procedures could be justified based on problems documented in the records, the women’s lack of consent or knowledge raises severe legal and ethical issues, lawyers and medical experts said.

Amin has performed surgery or other gynecological treatment on at least eight women detained at Irwin County Detention Center since 2017, including one hysterectomy, said Andrew Free, an immigration and civil rights lawyer working with other attorneys to investigate medical treatment at the jail. Doctors are helping the attorneys examine new records and more women are coming forward to report their treatment by Amin, Free said.

“The indication is there’s a systemic lack of truly informed and legally valid consent to perform procedures that could ultimately result — intentionally or unintentionally — in sterilization,” he said.

The AP’s review did not find evidence of mass hysterectomies as alleged in a widely shared complaint filed by a nurse at the detention center. 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.

This is hardly a clean bill of health for ICE. Evidence is still being gathered. And even one unwanted sterilization is a horror for the woman involved. But it shows the importance of gathering facts before forming firm judgments.

And not, say, blasting people as ideological robots because they are cautious about initial reports.

1 comment:

  1. I knew the story was going to be more dull than initially reported. And now it's going to be a lot harder to keep people's interest in it since the truth is "boring" compared to the initial, sensationalist story.

    I am curious if this is the action of a lone nut or of conflicting policy.
    i.e. "We can't let these people die while in custody."
    "Then I need to do surgery on them."
    "You can't do surgery without permission!"
    "Then they're going to die in the time we get that permission."
    "But we can't let these people die..."
    (And round and round it goes.)


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