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ICE Whistleblower Report Documents 'Grossly Negligent' Medical Care in Detention

December 13, 2019 (1 min read)

Hamed Aleaziz, BuzzFeed News, Dec. 12, 2019

"Immigrants held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement jails around the US received medical care so bad it resulted in two preventable surgeries, including an 8-year-old boy who had to have part of his forehead removed, and contributed to four deaths, according to an internal complaint from an agency whistleblower.

The allegations appear in an explosive Department of Homeland Security memo, obtained by BuzzFeed News, containing reports of detainees being given incorrect medication, suffering from delays in treating withdrawal symptoms, and one who was allowed to become so mentally unstable he lacerated his own penis and required reparative surgery.

The whistleblower reported that three people had died in ICE lockup after receiving inadequate medical treatment or oversight, and said official reports on a fourth person’s death were “very misleading.” One man died from meningitis following “grossly negligent” care. Another killed himself after saying he would do exactly that months earlier.

The allegations were laid out in a March 20 memorandum signed by Cameron Quinn, DHS’s officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and sent to top ICE leadership. The memo describes the whistleblower as someone within the ICE Health Service Corps, or IHSC, which provides medical care and oversight for detainees in the agency’s custody. BuzzFeed News does not know the person’s identity."