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A lawsuit has been filed against two Chicago hospitals, alleging that an OB-GYN, Fabio Ortega, sexually abused over 300 women, most of whom were Latina and Spanish speakers. The hospitals, NorthShore Medical Group and Swedish Covenant Hospital, are accused of ignoring the complaints made by the women against Ortega. The suit describes instances of Ortega performing unnecessary pelvic exams and asking intrusive questions about patients’ sex lives. The plaintiffs’ attorney stated that the hospitals knowingly concealed complaints about Ortega’s behavior and allowed him to continue abusing patients for years.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of a woman identified as “Jane Doe 300,” details the experiences of several unnamed patients dating back to 1989. Ortega allegedly assaulted Jane Doe 300 under the guise of performing vaginal examinations when she was 22 and pregnant. The lawsuit also highlights the case of a 40-year-old woman who was referred to Ortega for treatment after experiencing heavy bleeding. Ortega allegedly asked her inappropriate questions about her sex life during the examination. Multiple patients reportedly raised concerns about Ortega’s behavior to nursing assistants, family doctors, and even the Chicago Police Department in 2004.

The majority of Ortega’s alleged victims were Latina women who spoke little English and were sent to him for treatment because he spoke Spanish. The lawsuit includes the account of a 48-year-old woman from Mexico who was pregnant with her first child when she began seeing Ortega and has kept her experiences hidden from her daughters. Ortega served three years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually abusing two patients but has since been released. The law firm representing the plaintiffs also handled cases involving Larry Nassar, the former USA gymnastics doctor and convicted sexual predator.

Endeavor Health, the operator of the hospitals involved, declined to comment on the specific allegations but stated that they have no tolerance for abuse of any kind and are committed to the highest standards of safety and quality in care. The law firm representing the plaintiffs alleges that the hospitals ignored complaints because the patients were Latina and did not speak English, suggesting that minority patients are often silenced by healthcare providers when raising concerns. Additional lawsuits on behalf of more alleged victims are expected, with the firm choosing not to pursue a class-action case in order to account for the varying degrees of trauma experienced by each individual. The question remains whether the hospitals attempted to alert Ortega’s patients when he was first charged in 2021 with sexually abusing two patients.

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