Former Chicago gynecologist faces hundreds of abuse allegations, calls for reopened investigation

Many are calling to reopen an investigation into a local doctor who is facing hundreds of allegations of patient abuse. 

Legal teams behind some of the alleged victims spoke out Wednesday during a press conference. 

The group of attorneys is now calling on State's Attorney Kim Foxx and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul to investigate hundreds of claims of sexual abuse at the hands of former Chicago gynecologist Fabio Ortega. 

Ericka Matos says she was abused after confiding in Ortega and says she trusted him. 

"I'm not afraid anymore. That makes me angry. I'm going to speak for me and for all of the ladies that went to the same thing with him. We're looking for justice. I want to see Fabio Ortega face to face, to tell me why he did it," Matos said. 

Her lawsuit is one of dozens against the now 77-year-old, but allegations of sex abuse date back to the 1980s. 

State Representative Kelly Cassidy of the 14th District is now working on legislation to hold hospitals accountable in similar circumstances by beefing sanctions when hospitals or medical providers don’t report things like abuse their fines are heftier.

The funds from those fines collected would then be directed toward services for survivors.

"There’s a piece of me that is frustrated that we need legislation because what we need is common sense and human decency and to believe survivors," said Rep. Cassidy.

In 2021, he was sentenced to three years after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting two patients during exams and only spent one year in prison before being released. 

Attorneys said there are now more than 500 patients, all claiming to be sexually abused by Ortega who worked at NorthShore University Health System, NorthShore Medical Group and Swedish Covenant Hospital over the years.

"NorthShore and Swedish refuse to accept liability, refuse to accept their responsibility in harboring Dr. Fabio Ortega," said attorney Tamara Holder.

NorthShore and Swedish were both acquired by Endeavor Health. That company released this statement:

"As a healthcare provider, there is nothing more important than providing a safe and trusted environment for our patients, community and team members. It’s a responsibility we take very seriously. We have absolutely no tolerance for abuse of any kind.

We remain committed to reviewing individual claims and engaging in a process that allows for meaningful response to each individual impacted to reach a supportive resolution. The past events that have been reported are incredibly upsetting and concerning, and we recognize the tremendous strength and courage it takes for survivors of abuse to come forward. Fabio Ortega is not affiliated with Endeavor Health and has not provided care at any of our facilities in more than six years. Since these events, we underwent a rigorous process to review and enhance our policies across all of our hospitals and care sites to ensure we have an environment that supports reporting of threatened or actual abuse, including review by a system-wide oversight committee. We investigate all allegations of abuse that are reported to us, take prompt action in all matters and fully cooperate with law enforcement. Due to confidentiality and privacy reasons, we are unable to provide comment on the specifics of individual claims."