IRWIN COUNTY, Ga. — An Associated Press review of medical records for four detained immigrant women and interviews with lawyers have revealed growing allegations that a gynecologist performed surgeries and other procedures that the women never sought or didn’t fully understand.
Dr. Mahendra Amin was linked this week to allegations of unwanted hysterectomies done on immigrant women at Irwin County Detention Center, about three hours south of Atlanta.
Although some procedures could be justified based on problems noted in the medical records, lawyers and medical experts say the women’s lack of consent or knowledge raises severe legal and ethical issues.
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. An immigration and civil rights lawyer, Andrew Free, told the AP there are doctors going over more records and more women coming forward to share their stories, however.
Free described a "systemic lack of truly informed and legally valid consent to perform procedures that could ultimately result - intentionally or unintentionally - in sterilization."
One woman who spoke with Free said she felt she “didn’t have the opportunity to say no” to a hysterectomy.
Another woman, 30-year-old Pauline Binam from Cameroon, was "shocked" when she discovered one of her two fallopian tubes had been removed during a procedure for a separate matter, according to her attorney.
The attorney said Binam was told "they were in there anyway and found there was this problem.”
The AP also spoke to 39-year-old Mileidy Cardentey Fernandez from Cuba who said she's not sure what surgery she actually received, and that the detention center has given her more than 100 pages of medical records, but nothing from the day of her procedure.
A whistleblower nurse from the facility alleged the mass hysterectomies, among other misconduct by Amin, in a complaint announced earlier this week with the group Project South.
Democrats seized on the most explosive allegations in the nurse's complaint - that a gynecologist called the “uterus collector” was performing “mass hysterectomies” - in declaring they would investigate the matter.
The AP has so far found Amin had performed surgery or other gynecological treatment on at least eight women detained at the facility since 2017, including one hysterectomy.