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Surat-Educated Indian Doctor in the Midst of Controversy in the US

Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, Sep 17: An Indian gynecologist who studied medicine at the Government Medical College of South Gujarat University, Surat, and also did internship in another hospital in the diamond city, is reported to be in the middle of a massive controversy in Georgia, the United States, allegedly for performing mass hysterectomy operations on migrants without their proper knowledge.

The 68-year old Dr Mahendra Amin, now based in Douglas, Georgia, and is affiliated with Coffee Regional Medical Center, is alleged to have performed nearly two dozen such operations allegedly with the clear intention of sterilization. And many believed that the outrage over the issue was not an isolated one but sparked by the allegations fuelled by a well-documented and alarming history of sterilisation of coloured people in the US aimed at preventing the rapid growth of their population. The lawyers representing Dr Amin, however, have vehemently denied that he was involved in any “wrong-doing.”

The issue came to light after a whistleblower, an employee of a private detention centre, blew up about the Indian-descent gynecologist conducted hysterectomies on immigrants without their full understanding and consent at a private detention centre in Georgia and the Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jaypal taking a lead in writing a letter by Democratic members of the House of Representatives to the US home department for an investigation.

According to the US media reports, the complaint filed by the whistleblower did not identify him. But lawyers representing the victims have named the doctor as Mahendra Amin from Surat.

“We are aware of the whistleblower’s allegations as they relate to Dr Amin and we vehemently deny them,” said Scott Grubman, the doctor’s attorney, in a statement. “We look forward to all of the facts coming out and are confident that, once they do, Dr Amin will be cleared of any wrongdoing.”

Amin is an obstetrics and gynecology specialist. A US News website Prism which first reported the whistleblower complaint, said Coffee Regional Medical Center with which he was affiliated, had since removed all references to Amin from its website.

On Wednesday, 173 Democratic members of the House of Representatives wrote to the US department of homeland security, demanding an investigation into the whistleblower’s complaint.

Pramila Jayapal who initiated the joint letter along with senior party leaders, said, “It appears that there may be at minimum 17 to 18 women who were subjected to unnecessary medical gynecological procedures from just this one doctor, often without appropriate consent or knowledge, and with the clear intention of sterilisation.”

Dawn Wooten, a licensed nurse employed by Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) operated by private prison company, LaSalle Corrections, had filed the whistleblower complaint through Project South, a non-profit, with the inspector general of the department of homeland security on Monday. Wooten’s complaint alleged the conduct of mass hysterectomies amid rampant disregard for Covid-19 guidelines and unsanitary conditions at the facility.

Project South said it learnt about the hysterectomies in interviews with multiple inmates. One of them reportedly confirmed, “A lot of women here go through a hysterectomy.” Also, some women subjected to the procedure reportedly seemed “confused” why they were made to undergo it.

Wooten’s account, in her own words, is chilling. “Everybody he sees has a hysterectomy, just about everybody. He’s even taken out the wrong ovary on a young lady,” Wooten reportedly said, recalling a particular case. “She (the victim) was supposed to get her left ovary removed because it had a cyst. He took out the right one. She was upset, she had to go back to take out the left ovary and she wound up with a total hysterectomy.

“She wants children. So she has to go back home now and tell her husband that she can’t bear kids… she said she was not all the way out under anesthesia and heard him (the doctor) tell the nurse that he took out the wrong ovary.”

 

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