Fantus Health Center

Historical Background

In 1939, the Board of Commissioners of Cook County saw the need of broadening the field of medical care, so they purchased the old West Side Hospital building at Harrison and Wolcott Streets, and in 1940 converted the three lower floors for the use of the Out-Patient Clinics, which then numbered around 70,000 patient visits per year. They continued to use this space until 1953, when the two upper floors became available. Dr. Arthur Bernstein was appointed the first Executive Director of the Clinics.


The purpose of the Out-Patient clinics is two-fold. First, to serve as a follow-up clinic for convalescent care to patients released by Cook County Hospital, and to offer clinic care to patients who are not ill enough to be hospitalized. It is operated as a separate administrative unit.

The Clinic was named for Dr. Bernard Fantus, famed Cook County Hospital physician, who served as head of the Pharmacology & Therapeutic Department for many years. He established the first blood-bank in America in Cook County Hospital, and was most influential in teaching the proper medical care and simplification of treatment of patients. He died in 1940, and to honor him this building was named the “Fantus Out-Patient Clinic Building.”

In the 1957 Bond Issue, three and a half million dollars were provided for a new modern clinic building, to give better care for the increased number of patients, which had risen to 240,000 visits, or an increase of 300% in 20 years. In developing the plans, a great deal of time and effort were spent by the Warden, Fred A. Hertwig, Dr. Arthur Bernstein, the Director, and the Medical and Nursing Departments of the hospital, with the county architects, Richard W. Prendergast & Associates.


The plans were completed in 1959 and the corner-stone laid on May 10, 1960. The total cost of the building, with the necessary modern equipment and furnishings, as provided in the bond issue, amounted to three and a half million dollars.

The exterior of the four-story building is granite, Indiana limestone and masonry; the windows, stainless steel. The entire building is air-conditioned. It contains 114,000 sq. ft. or space, and is unique in that the design offers free circulation of patients, personnel, medical and nursing staffs without interference, and makes for efficient patient care. The permanent partitions are of ceramic tile. Movable metal partitions are provided for the examining rooms so they can be rearranged for any particular department without interfering with the permanent structure of the building. Three automatic elevators are provided for use of personnel and patients.

This facility provides treatment for over 400,000 patients each year, and the County Board of Commissioners have every justification for pride in providing such excellent service to the indigent sick of Cook County.

Obtaining Medical Records

Fantus Clinic maintain the medical records for John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital and the former Cook County Hospital

To obtain medical records you must first provide authorized release of information for the records to be provided to you.

To obtain the release form, call or visit:

Medical Records/ Release of Information
@ Fantus Clinic
621 S. Winchester Ave.
Chicago IL
Hours: 8-4 M-F
Phone: 312-864-6104

There is a 10-14 business-day turnaround for these records, unless a medical emergency. If it is an emergency, please state when speaking to the department and be ready to provide your doctor’s contact information.

You can provide authorization information either in person or by mail.