The DHS investigation is still ongoing and some media reports confirm that some migrant women were made to go hysterectomies without consent.
An Associated Press review of medical records for four women and interviews with lawyers revealed: “growing allegations that Dr. Mahendra Amin performed surgeries and other procedures on detained immigrants that they never sought or didn’t fully understand.” The New York Times states that Dr. Mahendra Amin, a gynecologist from the nearby town of Douglas, was described by ICE officials as the detention center’s “primary gynecologist.”
The AP report quoting Andrew Free, an immigration and civil rights lawyer working with other attorneys to investigate medical treatment at the jail, found that Amin had performed surgery or other gynecological treatment on at least eight women detained at Irwin County Detention Center since 2017, including one hysterectomy. Doctors are helping the lawyers examine new records, and more women are coming forward to report their treatment by Amin, Free told AP. Women housed at Irwin County Detention Center, who needed a gynecologist were typically taken to Amin, according to medical records provided to the AP by Free.
The New York Times also conducted an investigation for which 16 women were interviewed, and the medical files of seven women who were able to obtain their records were thoroughly reviewed. The cases were reviewed by five gynecologists — four of them board-certified and all with medical school affiliations. The investigation revealed that Dr. Amin seemed to consistently recommend surgical intervention, even when it did not seem medically necessary at the time, and nonsurgical treatment options were available. “In almost every woman’s chart, Dr. Amin listed symptoms such as heavy bleeding with clots and chronic pelvic pain, which could justify surgery. But some of the women said they never experienced or reported those symptoms to him,” it said.
However, the report also warned that the doctors had found that the medical files might not have been complete in some cases and that additional information could potentially shift their analyses. It also stated that in 2013, the Justice Department had named him in a civil case alleging that he and several other doctors had overbilled Medicare and Medicaid by, among other things, performing unnecessary procedures on terminal patients and leaving the emergency room staffed by nurses while billing for diagnoses and treatments as if doctors had performed them. The case was settled for $520,000 with no admission of fault on the part of the defendants.
Dr. Amin’s lawyer, Scott Grubman, said in a statement that the physician “strongly disputes any allegations that he treated any patient with anything other than the utmost care and respect.”
ICE officials have said that they “vehemently” dispute implications that detainees were used for “experimental medical procedures,” and that the “welfare and safety of ICE detainees” was one of the agency’s highest priorities. “All female ICE detainees receive routine, age-appropriate gynecological and obstetrical health care, consistent with recognized community guidelines for women’s health services,” said Ada Rivera, medical director of the ICE Health Service Corps.
Dr. Ada Rivera, medical director of the ICE Health Service Corps, said, “To be clear, medical care decisions concerning detainees are made by medical personnel, not by law enforcement personnel. Detainees are afforded informed consent, and a medical procedure like a hysterectomy would never be performed against a detainee’s will.”
Questions have also been raised about the claims’ veracity as one of the whistleblower’s attorneys. Priyanka Bhatt acknowledged that she did not speak to any of the women directly. The Washington Post reported that she “included the allegations in the report to trigger an investigation into whether or not the claims were true.” It also reported that the hospital stated that its records showed that just two women in immigration custody had been referred to the hospital for the procedure since 2017.
AP and The New York Times corroborated that some detainees had not consented to the surgeries. The investigation by the Inspector General of the DHS is ongoing. More information regarding the allegations on ICE can only be revealed after the ID’s investigation concludes, and the findings are made public.