Wednesday, 07 Dec 2022

Im back on food stamps: Nurse who exposed uterus collector still faces consequences

Im back on food stamps: Nurse who exposed uterus collector still faces consequences


Im back on food stamps: Nurse who exposed uterus collector still faces consequences

When American nurse Dawn Wooten started asking questions about the alarming number of unwanted hysterectomies and gynaecological procedures being performed on detained immigrants at her workplace in Georgia, she was unfamiliar with the term whistleblower.

Now, more than two years on, she has no regrets about having raised the alarm with her report on Irwin County Detention Center that shook the US and Congress with allegations against a gynaecologist so notorious he was known as the "uterus collector".

But Wooten is still coming to terms with the repercussions.

Her whistleblower status has come to define her identity and much of her life. It drove Wooten and four of her five children into hiding, where they slept in one bed to comfort one other. It left her depressed and suicidal, pushed her from independence to reliance on government benefits and has made it almost impossible for her to do the job that she loves.

The 44-year-old single mother from Tifton, Georgia sometimes gets up early as if she were going to work and puts on her nurse's uniform and stethoscope before walking around her home. Such is her longing to work again as a nurse.

"Pre-whistleblowing, 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," she told the Guardian, her passion audible.

Now there is no stability and despite spending every day on the phone trying to get a job, nobody will hire her. "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."

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