Mexico has said they've identified two women who were allegedly forced into non-consensual surgeries while detained by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE.
Mexico identifies victims
Identifying the two female victims and finding other victims is part of a more extensive investigation done by Mexico into allegations of improper medical care for detained migrant women at ICE's Irwin Country Detention Center, which is privately run in Ocilla, Georgia.
According to US News, Mexico's Foreign Ministry released a statement during the weekend and stated that one Mexican national received a surgical intervention that she did not agree to.
The Ministry specified that the operation was not a hysterotomy. The victim said she did not receive post-operative care after the surgery. The woman also did not receive treatment for a hernia, which affected the botched surgery.
A second woman in Mexico came forward and stated that she also underwent a gynecological surgery without her full consent, according to the statement of the Ministry. The type of surgery conducted was not specified, according to WION.
The statement also says that she did not receive an explanation in Spanish of the medical diagnosis or the nature of the medical procedures that would be performed. The government added that they are verifying the case.
On October 13, ICE released a statement after the allegations circulated. The statement was attributed to Acting Director Tony Pham; he said that the allegations raised serious concerns that need to be investigated.
According to CNN, Pham added that the incidents are now being reviewed by both the Office of Inspector General, where the whistleblower complaint was filed and the Department of Homeland Security.
Pham said in the statement that if there is any truth to the allegations about the surgeries, he is committed to making the corrections needed to make sure that they continue to prioritize the health, welfare, and the safety of ICE detainees.
In September 2020, Dawn Wooten filed a complaint raising concerns about an undetermined number of hysterectomies allegedly performed and the medical neglect in the detention center.
Wooten is a licensed practical nurse. She was formerly employed at the detention center.
There were 20 women who came forward and interviewed by Mexican officials as part of their ongoing investigation about what is happening in the detention center. According to another statement released by the Foreign Ministry, five Mexican women said they had interactions with a doctor linked to improper surgeries.
Dr. Ada Rivera, the medical director of the ICE Health Service Corps, said that since 2018 there were only two people in the detention center referred to certified medical professionals.
Dr. Rivera said that the two individuals in the detention center were evaluated, and the specialists recommended hysterectomies. Rivera added that the recommendations were reviewed by the facility's clinical authority and were approved.
According to the company that operates the detention center, LaSalle Corrections, all females in their care receive age-appropriate and routine gynecological health care. The statement added that the company is consistent with recognized community guidelines for women's health services.
According to the Foreign Ministry, Mexico's consulate in Georgia is now in contact with a lawyer for a possible lawsuit to address the violation of the rights of the women detained at the center.