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Unstable gynaecological patient with an ankle monitor: implications of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Alternatives to Detention programme in the healthcare setting


We review the case of an unstable gynaecological patient in the USA who presented with profuse vaginal bleeding after spontaneous miscarriage and was ultimately diagnosed with a uterine arteriovenous malformation managed with interventional radiology embolisation of her uterine artery. Her case was complicated by the presence of an ankle monitoring device which had been placed by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement as part of the Alternatives to Detention programme in which she was enrolled during her immigration proceedings. The device prompted important considerations regarding the potential use of cautery, MRI compatibility and device-related trauma, in addition to causing significant anxiety for the patient, who was concerned about how the team’s actions could affect her immigration case. Discussion of her course and shared perspective highlights the unique clinical and medicolegal considerations presented by the expanded use of ankle monitoring devices for electronic surveillance (or ‘e-carceration’) of non-violent immigrants and others.

  • Anxiety disorders (including OCD and PTSD)
  • Migration and health
  • Obstetrics and gynaecology
  • Perioperative care
  • Global Health

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