A Brewer woman has been awarded $8 million after a Brewer medical clinic failed to tell her or DHHS of signs of abuse they found on her infant son.

How Was the Abuse Detected?

Alexandria Orduna of Orono took her 6-month-old son to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center with one eye swollen shut. She told medical personnel that she thought the child was reacting to immunizations he had received earlier in the day. After an examination, doctors told her the child had suffered a stroke and had a life-threatening skull fracture.

But Orduna's lawyers said in court that, before the trip to the hospital, she had taken her son to a federally-funded clinic in Brewer with a multitude of injuries. WGME-TV reports some of those injuries included bruised ears and swollen ankles. Each time, the medical professionals treated the injuries but, according to court documents, failed to recognize or report the signs of abuse. At EMMC, doctors gave him a full examination and found evidence of a broken back and skull, as well as old injuries that were healing. They separated the boy from possible abusers and called the authorities.

Was Abuser Prosecuted?

Investigators interviewed Orduna's boyfriend, 24-year-old Cyree Hansley, who told them the child fell in the bathtub when his chair tipped over. He later changed his story and was arrested. Hansley pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine years in prison, with all but four years suspended. He was also ordered to serve 5 1/2 years' probation, once he was released from prison.

What Are The Lasting Physical Effects of the Abuse?

The boy is now almost totally blind and his brain stopped growing at the time of his beating. Most of the settlement between Orduna and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be distributed in monthly $17,000 increments and deposited into a trust account for the rest of her son's life. That money will help cover the cost of the extensive medical care, services, and housing accommodations that he will need because of his injuries.

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