In a noteworthy legal case from 2021, obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Fabio Ortega admitted to sexually assaulting two women under his care. He was found guilty and sentenced to three years in prison but only served a third of that sentence before he was released on October 28, 2022.

Since his discharge from prison, more former patients have bravely chosen to share their stories, recounting similar experiences of sexual assault by the same doctor. This unfolding situation serves as a testament to the courage of these individuals who are speaking up to shed light on the extent of Dr. Ortega’s misconduct.

Lawsuits Brought Against Ortega, Swedish Hospitals, and NorthShore University Health System

Dr. Ortega was part of the medical fraternity at Swedish Hospital and NorthShore University Health System in the Chicagoland area for a considerable period. Regrettably, this case echoes similar patterns observed in other doctor-patient assault incidents. It’s been alleged these institutions were aware of his misconduct but permitted him to continue his full-time practice unhindered.

The lawsuits in progress suggest a troubling scenario. Even with knowledge of an ongoing investigation into Dr. Ortega’s behavior, NorthShore allegedly allowed him to interact with patients without providing any forewarning.

If true, their actions are unethical and a stark violation of patients’ trust in their healthcare providers. It’s important to remember that every patient has the right to safe and respectful care, which includes being informed about any significant concerns regarding their healthcare provider.

Doctor-Patient Sexual Abuse Is More Common Than Expected

Doctor-patient sexual abuse has long been a hidden scourge within our healthcare systems. However, thanks to the courage of survivors and the amplifying power of movements like #MeToo, society is finally beginning to grasp the extent of this pervasive problem.

In the last decade alone, we’ve seen revelations about healthcare professionals who have abused their positions of trust, leaving behind a trail of pain and shattered lives. The sheer scale of these abuses is staggering, but it’s important to remember that behind each statistic is a person who has been deeply affected.

Consider the case of Dr. Larry Nassar, previously a sports medicine physician for Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics. Over two decades, he allegedly assaulted over 600 patients, including Olympic athletes. Or take Dr. Robert Anderson, from the University of Michigan, accused of abusing over 1,000 male and female athletes during his 40-year career.

Then there’s Dr. Richard Strauss from Ohio State University, Dr. Richard Hadden, an ex-gynecologist at Columbia University, and Dr. George Tyndall, a former gynecologist at the Southern California University Park Health Center. Each of these individuals is alleged to have committed countless acts of sexual assault against their patients.

What compounds the horror of these stories is the suggestion that the institutions these doctors worked for may have known about their abusive behavior. Claims have been made that these establishments ignored reports, failed to investigate complaints, and even attempted to cover up the abuse. Legal action against these institutions has resulted in over $2 billion in recoveries for the survivors of these heinous acts.

Survivors of Sexual Abuse Seek Justice

These cases are distressing, but they underline a crucial point: if you have suffered this way, you are not alone. We will listen to your story, believe you, and fight for your rights. Your voice matters, your experience matters, and you have the power to help bring about change. You deserve justice, and there are avenues to seek it. You have our unwavering support in your journey towards healing and accountability.

If you or a loved one suspects you are a victim of Dr. Ortega’s sexual abuse, Lisa Esser-Weidenfeller, our senior partner, stands ready to lend an ear. Boasting a rich history of triumphantly advocating for survivors of doctor-inflicted sexual abuse across the nation, Ms. Esser-Weidenfeller has represented plaintiffs in locales spanning Cook County to Peoria County. Your conversation with her will be 100% confidential, free of charge, and without any obligatory strings.

If you have any information regarding Dr. Ortega’s sexual misconduct or are privy to knowledge about those within the hospital system who chose to overlook his abuses, Ms. Esser-Weidenfeller is eager to converse with you. The strength of these cases is amplified when survivors and witnesses courageously come forward and join together. 

We invite you to join us in this crusade. We fervently hope that by the journey’s end, you’ll find a measure of healing and reclaim the voice unjustly taken from you. Let’s turn the tables on injustice together.

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