Multiple patients are filing suit against NorthShore University HealthSystem and a former gynecologist alleging the healthcare provider never warned them that the doctor was accused of sexual assault.
According to the suit, the hospital allowed Dr. Fabio Ortego to continue working during a criminal investigation into sexual assault claims.
Ortega was charged last year with one count of criminal sexual assault involving a woman not related to the latest lawsuit filing. Ortega pleaded not guilty to the charge in Septemeber and is next expected to appear in court on June 13.
NorthShore University HealthSystem said in a statement that the “physician in question is no longer employed” by the company.
“We take these accusations very seriously,” the hospital’s statement read. “Since this remains an active legal matter, we are unable to comment further. We find any professional misconduct of this nature to be deeply disturbing and not reflective of the high standards of care we stand for and that our patients expect from us.”
As many as five unidentified women have accused Ortega of sexual assault, alleging he asked female patients questions about their sexual fantasies and intimate details about their sex lives, performed unnecessary breast, genital and rectal examinations, inserted his fingers into patients’ vaginas to show them “how to locate their ‘g-spot, which is not a medical need or purpose,’” and performing ungloved exams of breasts and genitalia, among other things.
“It affected my marriage. I was showering uncontrollably because I felt disgusting,” one woman, identified as Jane Doe in the lawsuit, told NBC 5.
One of the women in the lawsuit stated that she was sexually abused one day after Ortega was questioned by Skokie police during their investigation.
“This lawsuit is about accountability,” Attorney Tamara Holder said. “Northshore knew that Dr. Fabio Ortega was a sexual predator. They had complaints in 2012 and 2013 and those were formal complaints that they knew about.”
Ortega has not been charged in any of the claims listed in the most recent lawsuits, all of which were filed by Holder.
The lawsuit states that Ortega was allowed to “quietly retire” following the initial claims. His medical license is currently listed as “suspended,” according to the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation.
A lawyer for Ortega did not immediately respond to a request for comment.