Sept. 25, 2020
Best of the Week — First Winner
AP investigates medical care at immigrant detention facility after explosive allegations
The allegations were explosive: A nurse at an immigration detention facility in rural Georgia said a gynecologist she called “the uterus collector” performed mass hysterectomies without detainees’ consent.
Reaction was fast and furious, but the AP treated the unsubstantiated allegations cautiously. Immigration reporter Nomaan Merchant dug into the story amid intense competition, reaching out to sources, doctors and a detainee who had surgery performed without her consent.
While his review did not find evidence of mass hysterectomies, Merchant revealed a growing pattern of women not consenting to procedures that potentially jeopardized their ability to have children. Three days later, the AP was first to report that the doctor would no longer treat immigrant detainees.
For impressive work that broke new ground on a highly charged story, Merchant wins AP’s Best of the Week award.