Federal Investigation Requested for Medical Malpractice at ICE Detention Centers
Top congressional Democrats are calling for a federal investigation after a nurse who worked at an immigration detention center in Georgia filed a whistleblower complaint alleging a lack of medical care and unsafe work practices that facilitated the spread of COVID-19. She also says that immigrant women received questionable hysterectomies, an allegation that lawmakers have looked into in late September 2020.
On September 22, 2020 a group of 168 members of Congress sent a letter urging DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari to investigate the allegations of mass hysterectomies. They're demanding an urgent response and a briefing on the status of the investigation by Sept. 25.
The allegations stem from the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Ga., which houses immigrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and is run by LaSalle Corrections, a private company that operates similar facilities in three Southern states. Dawn Wooten, a nurse who worked at the facility until her sudden demotion in July, filed a whistleblower complaint on Monday outlining what her lawyers called "recent accounts of jarring medical neglect at ICDC."
Accusations in Monday's complaint include: refusing to test detainees for COVID-19, shredding medical requests submitted by detained immigrants, fabricating medical records, allowing employees to work while symptomatic and awaiting COVID-19 test results, withholding information from detainees and employees about who has tested positive, underreporting COVID-19 cases, and allowing the transfer of detained immigrants, including those who have tested positive for the virus.