Mexico said it has identified two women who may have been operated on without their consent while they were detained by U.S. immigration authorities.
Mexico said it has identified two migrant women who may have undergone surgery without their consent while being detained by U.S. immigration authorities.
Mexico’s Foreign Ministry announced the findings in a statement over the weekend as part of an investigation into allegations of medical misconduct experienced by migrant women at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia, while in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The ministry said Mexico’s consulate in Atlanta was also in touch with a lawyer “to explore the legal channels that address the violation of their human rights.”
The ministry said authorities interviewed a Mexican woman at the detention center in September who alleges she underwent a gynecological surgical procedure without her consent and was not given post-operative care. The ministry statement said the procedure was not a hysterectomy but offered no further detail. The woman said she was also not treated for a hernia condition, according to the ministry.
Given the seriousness of the allegations, the Consulate General requested the opinion of a medical specialist, who “after a thorough review of the record, considers that there are irregularities or anomalies in the medical procedure,” the ministry said.
The Mexican government said it was also verifying the claim of a second Mexican woman who may also have been subject to a gynecological procedure without her consent and without receiving an explanation in Spanish of her diagnosis or the procedure.
Last month, a nurse who previously worked at the Georgia detention center submitted a whistleblower complaint raising concerns about alleged medical neglect and questionable hysterectomies and procedures performed on migrant women.
Lawyers representing clients at the center also told NBC News that immigrant women were being sent to a gynecologist who left them bruised and performed unnecessary procedures.
ICE acting Director Tony Pham said in a statement Wednesday that the nurse’s allegations “raised some very serious concerns that deserve to be investigated quickly and thoroughly.”
“ICE welcomes the efforts of both the Office of Inspector General as well as the Department of Homeland Security’s parallel review. As a former prosecutor, individuals found to have violated our policies and procedures should be held accountable,” Pham said. “If there is any truth to these allegations, it is my commitment to make the corrections necessary to ensure we continue to prioritize the health, welfare and safety of ICE detainees.”
LaSalle Corrections, the private company that operates the detention center, did not immediately respond to request for comment on Wednesday. It has previously denied the allegations.