“The only thing they told me was, ‘You’re going to bed and when you wake up we’ll be done,’” Cardentey said this week in a phone interview.
Cardentey kept his hospital bracelet. It is dated August 14 and part of the name of doctor Dr Mahendra Amin, a gynecologist this week linked to allegations of unwanted hysterectomies and other procedures performed on immigrant women detained that compromise their ability to have children.
An Associated Press review of the medical records of four women and interviews with attorneys revealed growing allegations that Amin performed surgeries and other procedures on detained immigrants whom they had never sought or sought after. did not fully understand.
Although some procedures may be justified on the basis of problems documented in the files, the lack of consent or knowledge of women raises serious legal and ethical issues, lawyers and medical experts have said.
Amin has performed surgery or other gynecologic treatment on at least eight women held at the Irwin County Detention Center since 2017, including a hysterectomy, said Andrew Free, an immigration and civil rights lawyer working with lawyers to investigate the medical treatment at the detention center. Doctors on behalf of lawyers are reviewing new cases and more women are coming forward to report their treatment with Amin, Free said.
“The indication is that there is a systemic lack of genuinely informed and legally valid consent to perform procedures that could ultimately result – intentionally or unintentionally – in sterilization,” he said.
The AP examination found no evidence of mass hysterectomies as alleged in a widely shared complaint filed by a nurse at the detention center. Dawn Wooten alleged that many female detainees were taken to an anonymous gynecologist whom she referred to as a “uterus collector” because of the number of hysterectomies he performed.
The complaint sparked a furious backlash from Congressional Democrats and an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General. It also brought up comparisons to previous government-approved efforts in the United States to sterilize people to supposedly improve society – victims who were disproportionately poor, the mentally disabled, American Indian, black or other people of color. Thirty-three states had forced sterilization programs in the 20th century.
But a lawyer who helped file the complaint said she had never spoken to women with hysterectomies. Priyanka Bhatt, lawyer for the Project South advocacy group, told the Washington Post that she included the hysterectomy allegations because she wanted to trigger an investigation to determine if they were true. Wooten did not respond to questions at a press conference Tuesday, and Project South did not respond to interview requests Thursday on behalf of Bhatt or Wooten.
Amin told Intercept, which first reported Wooten’s complaint, that he had only had one or two hysterectomies in the past three years. His attorney, Scott Grubman, said in a statement: “We look forward to the release of all facts and are confident that once they do, Dr Amin will be cleared of any wrongdoing. ”
Grubman did not respond to further questions on Thursday.
As of 2018, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it found records of two referrals for hysterectomies at the jail, located in Ocilla, Ga., About 240 miles from Atlanta.
“Inmates have informed consent and a medical intervention such as a hysterectomy would never be performed against an inmate’s will,” said Dr Ada Rivera, medical director of the ICE Health Service Corps which oversees health care in detention.
The LaSalle Correctional Service, which manages the prison, said it “strongly refutes these allegations and any implications of misconduct.”
Women housed in the Irwin County Detention Center who needed a gynecologist were typically taken to Amin, according to medical records provided to the PA by Free and attorney Alexis Ruiz, who represents Cardentey. Interviews with detainees and their lawyers suggest that some women have come to fear the doctor.
Records reviewed by the AP show a woman underwent a psychiatric assessment the same day she refused to undergo a surgery called dilation and curettage. Commonly called D&C, it removes tissue from the uterus and can be used as a treatment for excessive bleeding. A note written on letterhead from Amin’s office indicated that the woman was worried.
According to a written summary of her psychiatric assessment, the woman said, “I’m nervous about my next procedure.
The summary said she denied needing mental health care and added: “I am worried because I saw someone else after having the surgery and what I saw did to me. fear.
The AP also reviewed the records of a woman who had undergone a hysterectomy. She reported irregular bleeding and was taken to Amin for a D&C. A lab study of the tissue revealed signs of early cancer, called carcinoma. Amin’s notes indicate that the woman accepted the hysterectomy 11 days later.
Free, who spoke to the woman, said she felt pressured by Amin and “hadn’t had a chance to say no” or speak to her family before the procedure.
Doctors told the AP that a hysterectomy might have been appropriate due to the carcinoma, although there may have been less intrusive options available.
Lawyers for the two women have asked that their names not be released for fear of reprisals from immigration authorities.
In another case, Pauline Binam, a 30-year-old woman who was brought to the United States from Cameroon at the age of two, saw Amin after experiencing an irregular menstrual cycle and was told to have a D&C, said his lawyer, Van Huynh.
When she woke up from the surgery, Huynh said, she was told that Amin had removed one of her two fallopian tubes, which connect the uterus to the ovaries and are needed to conceive a child. Binam’s medical records indicate that the doctor discovered the tube was swollen.
“She was shocked and kind of confronted him about it – that she hadn’t given her consent for him to continue with this,” Huynh said. “The answer he gave was that they were there anyway and found out there was this problem. ”
While women can potentially still conceive with an intact tube and ovary, doctors who spoke to the AP said removal of the tube was likely unnecessary and should never have happened without Binam’s consent.
Doctors also asked how Amin discovered the swollen tube, as performing a D&C would not normally involve exploring a woman’s fallopian tubes.
Dr Julie Graves, a family physician and public health physician in Florida, called the process “absolutely heinous.”
“It’s established in US law that you don’t operate on anything you find,” she says. “If you’re in a teaching hospital and an attending physician does something like that, it’s a scandal and they’re fired.”
Binam was on the verge of expulsion on Wednesday, but Ice delayed her after calls from members of Congress and an emergency stay request from her lawyer.
Grubman, Amin’s lawyer, said in a statement that the doctor “has dedicated his adult life to treating a high-risk and underserved population in rural Georgia.”
Amin completed his medical studies in India in 1978 and his residency in gynecology in New Jersey. He practiced in rural Georgia for at least three decades, according to court documents. Crown corporation records also show that Amin is the head of a company that runs Irwin County Hospital.
In 2013, state and federal investigators sued Amin, the Irwin County Hospital Authority and a group of other doctors over allegations that they falsely billed Medicare and Medicaid.