Home Medical Malpractice Orono woman reaches tentative $10M settlement in malpractice lawsuit

Orono woman reaches tentative $10M settlement in malpractice lawsuit

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Alexandria Orduna claims employees of Brewer Medical Center failed to alert her to signs of abuse.

ORONO, Maine — Editor’s note: The video above aired Nov. 10, 2021.

A former Orono woman has reached a tentative $10 million settlement in a malpractice lawsuit after her infant son suffered permanent, catastrophic injuries that went unreported by Brewer Medical Center.

In June 2020, Alexandria Orduna sued the federal government, which operates Penobscot Community Heath Center, a federally qualified health center, and through it, Brewer Medical Center.

The medical malpractice suit claims staff at Brewer Medical Center did not notified Orduna, as they were required by law to do, of “red-flag signs of physical abuse” by her then-boyfriend, Cyree Hansley, that would have allowed her to protect her son.

According to court documents, Orduna repeatedly took her child to Brewer Medical Center for treatment starting when he was four days old until Jan. 10, 2019, when “he was beaten so savagely by Hansley that he nearly died,” her attorney, Terry Garmey, wrote in a complaint.

Hansley was sentenced in November to 9 years in prison with all but 4 years suspended after pleading guilty to charges of aggravated assault and assault on a child under 6.

On Jan. 10, 2019, the emergency department at Eastern Maine Medical Center found the child had suffered injures including a fractured skull, bleeding in his brain, a left femur fracture, blindness and a permanent brain injury, court documents state.

They also found older injuries including to his spine, ankle, ears and neck “that were caused by the ongoing serial abuse by Hansley which had been occurring for months.”

RELATED: Orono man sentenced after seriously injuring infant

Despite repeated treatment at Brewer Medical Center and notes in medical records that physical abuse was a potential cause of the symptoms, “no employee of Maine’s Office of Children and Family Services informed her,” the complaint alleges.

Pediatric neurologist Dr. Stephen D. Rioux, who evaluated the child, said profound traumatic injury to the left side of his brain will cause the child “severe pain, injury, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, medical expenses, lost earnings capacity and permanent impairment, including near total blindness.”

However, because the right side of his brain was not injured, the child “will experience emotions but have difficulty resolving those emotions or expressing his needs, such that E.O. will able to feel and pick up on the emotional content of language (“prosody”), but not necessarily understand the background of it or the specific language. It is more likely than not that as he matures and grows older, E.O. will be able to both appreciate that he is different and understand his suffering. This will render his life very complex.”

On Feb. 24, Orduna’s attorney Terry Garmey, filed a motion for approval of the settlement, which must be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. District Judge Lance Walker, the Bangor Daily News reported.

Of the proposed $10 million settlement, $7 million would be put into a trust for the child’s long-term care.

Garmey did not immediately return a phone call Monday afternoon.

A hearing is scheduled for April 12.

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