Nurse who blew whistle on forced sterilizations of migrants still out of work 2 years later; doctor still practicing – National & International News – MON 17Oct2022

In 2019, nurse Dawn Wooten (left) blew the whistle on unnecessary and non-consensual sterilizations of immigrant detainees. Two years later, she's still being punished for speaking up.

 

Whistleblower nurse who exposed non-consensual hysterectomies still out of work 2 years later. CA police arrest serial killer suspect. 8 prisoners dead in fire at notorious Iran prison.

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Nurse who blew whistle on unnecessary hysterectomies still out of work 2 years later; doctor still practicing

Two years ago, nurse Dawn Wooten raised concerns that a physician had performed dozens of invasive gynecological procedures on women in migrant detention centers without their informed consent. Because of her courageous efforts, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) no longer contract with the doctor, or the hospital in question. Legal aid groups working on behalf of these women have campaigned tirelessly for more humane conditions for immigrant detainees. But because she spoke out, Wooten says she’s apparently been blackballed from a profession that she loved. Meanwhile, the surgeon, Dr. Mahendra Amin, continues to practice.

“The uterus collector”

In October 2019, Wooten was working as a nurse at the Irwin County Detention Center, which contracted with ICE to house immigrants awaiting deportation. Wooten said, “Different migrant women were coming and asking me, ‘can you check and see what procedure I had? Or ‘what happened to me yesterday?’ And they were coming back from the physician not knowing what was going on”.

Most of these women spoke no English, and never received an adequate explanation of the procedures to be performed on them. Women in the facility clearly knew something wasn’t right and had branded Dr. Amin “the uterus collector”. But until they spoke to Wooten, no one at the facility had taken their complaints seriously.

Wooten soon discovered that dozens of ICDC detainees had been subjected to invasive gynecological procedures without their knowledge. These included full and partial hysterectomies and dilation and curettage. After Wooten raised these concerns with her colleagues at ICDC, she was fired. Still, Wooten reported her findings to human rights watchdog groups and the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees ICE. She also went public with the accusations.

Two years later

Despite all the praise Wooten received from rights groups and advocates, Wooten believes she is still being punished for speaking up. “Post-whistleblowing,” she said, “I am on antidepressants, at one time I was suicidal, couldn’t pay bills, still can’t pay bills, my whole nursing career just plummeted”.

A single mother, Wooten now relies on welfare, Medicaid and food stamps to get by. That’s despite spending every day on the phone looking for work doing a job she once loved. “Pre-whistleblowing,” she said, “I worked four 12-hour shifts a week, was able to meet needs, loved what I did, got up every morning faithful in the job that I did. I love nursing”.

Even though employers have turned their backs on her, Wooten is still looking for ways to serve a profession she found meaningful. She’s currently studying for an advanced nursing degree, and hopes to become an educator. Her goal is “to educate enough nurses that are entering the field that this doesn’t continue to happen on their watch”.

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California city relieved after serial killer suspect caught

Police in Stockton, CA, have captured a man they believe is responsible for seven shootings in the area, 6 of them fatal. Just since July this year, five men were fatally shot while walking alone at night. Police then linked two more shootings to the same killer that took place in April of last year. One of those victims, a 46-year-old black woman, survived. All the other victims were men, five of them Hispanic, another white. The victims ranged in age from 21 to 54 years old. Although there were no apparent commonalities among the victims, save for the fact they were walking alone at night, police said the shootings fit the profile of a serial killer.

Over the weekend, police took Wesley Brownlee, 43, into custody in connection with the killings. Police believe that Brownlee, who is black was “out hunting” for another victim when he was apprehended. Brownlee was in his vehicle at 2am Saturday, cruising an area where many of the shootings have taken place. He was clad in black, wearing a mask around his neck and had a handgun in his possession.

Police say Brownlee had a criminal record but provided no further details. No motive for the killings has yet surfaced.

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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Iran: at least 8 prisoners dead in fire at notorious prison

This weekend, dramatic video circulated on social media showing an out-of-control blaze at the notorious Evin prison near Tehran. Evin houses many of Iran’s highest-profile political prisoners. The families of two Americans held there report that their loved ones are unharmed.

In the video, shouting, screaming, gunshots and explosions can be heard, as well as chants of “death to the dictator” from demonstrators gathered outside the prison. This chant has become a favorite of young people protesting the harsh strictures on freedoms for women in the country. For five weeks since the death of Zhina Amini, 22, in the custody of the morality police, the protests have continued to grow in scale and fervor. Many people arrested in these protests have been imprisoned at Evin.

Iranian officials says that 8 prisoners died and dozens suffered injuries in the fire. It’s unclear what the cause of the fire was. Outside sources say there was an uprising inside the prison. It’s all but impossible for independent media to verify what exactly occurred.

Meanwhile, the EU has sanctioned Iranian security forces over the death of Amini and other young women who have been murdered during the protests.

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