SANTA FE, N.M. ( Associated Press) — U.S. immigration officials did not do enough to adequately investigate or monitor a rural Georgia gynecologist who performed unnecessary and invasive tests on detained women, according to results of a Senate investigation released Tuesday. Performed non-consensual medical procedures.
A Senate panel highlighted the results of an 18-month investigation into the medical care provided to immigrants previously detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Irvine County Private Detention Center in Georgia.
The panel heard testimony from a detained migrant mother who was taken to shackles to be roughly examined by a gynecologist and then injected with a contraceptive without explanation.
The investigation focused on consultations at another location and treatment provided by gynecologist Mahendra Amin to the women under the supervision of ICE agents. It listed hundreds of procedures and surgeries performed by Amin between 2017 and 2020 and interviewed six women about the details of their experiences as patients.
The investigation found that the two hysterectomies performed by Amin appeared to be medically necessary, but that those detained were subjected to excessive, invasive, and often unnecessary gynecological procedures by the doctor.
The investigation found that ICE agents were not aware of publicly available information about professional misconduct lawsuits against Amin and a Medicaid fraud lawsuit filed against him by the Georgia Department of Justice. The fraud charge was resolved in a settlement in 2015 without admitting guilt.
Amin declined to testify at Tuesday’s hearing in Washington and respond to the investigation, citing his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff of Georgia said, “I can’t think of anything worse — unnecessary surgeries performed on female inmates.” “Please, this is a bad failure.”
Stewart Smith, deputy director of the ICE Health Services Corps, acknowledged that his agency was unaware of concerns about Amin until a whistleblower complaint surfaced in September 2020.
Smith said, “Dr. In Amin’s case, he was the only provider in the area who was willing to see these patients.” “We were not aware of all the details until the whistleblower made the allegations.”
The ICE Health Services Corps provides direct medical care services at 21 detention facilities nationwide and monitors compliance with medical standards at approximately 150 additional facilities with services provided by contractors or local governments.
The agency inspected the Irvine County Detention Center, where detainees are moved off-site for specialized care.
Last year the Department of Homeland Security terminated its contract with the Irvine County Detention Center and transferred detained immigrants to other facilities.