If you are concerned about a child being neglected or abused, call Maine’s 24-hour hotline at 800-452-1999 or 711 to speak with a child protective specialist. Calls may be made anonymously. For more information, visit maine.gov/dhhs/ocfs/cw/reporting_abuse.
An Orono mother has reached a deal that would have the federal government pay $10 million over a federally funded Brewer medical clinic’s failure to tell her or state authorities about signs of abuse inflicted on her then-6½-month-old son.
The proposed settlement between Alexandria Orduna and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services would set aside $7 million for the boy’s long-term medical care. The remaining funds would pay legal fees and expenses related to the lawsuit.
The agreement still must be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. District Judge Lance Walker.
The boy, now 3 ½, suffered brain injuries on Jan. 10, 2019, as the result of a skull fracture allegedly inflicted by Cyree Hansley, 27, of North Carolina, according to court documents. Hansley was living with Orduna, 24, when the boy was injured but is not his father.
The boy is now blind.
Orduna sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which administers Medicaid, in June 2019 demanding payment for the boy’s ongoing medical care. Information about the proposed settlement was included in a motion for its approval filed Thursday in federal court in Bangor.
In addition to claiming that medical personnel at the Brewer Medical Center didn’t tell her about signs of abuse, Orduna alleged that medical providers didn’t report the suspected abuse to Maine authorities as required by law.
Orduna did not sue the clinic, which is run by Penobscot Community Health Care, directly. Rather, she sued the federal agency that runs Medicaid, which paid for the care her son received.
Orduna’s attorneys, Alexis Garmey Chardon and Terry D. Garmey of Portland, declined to comment on the case. It is the practice of the justice department not to comment on pending litigation.
Earlier in the case, the assistant U.S. attorney representing the federal DHHS argued that a private health care provider couldn’t be held liable in a medical malpratice suit for failing to report suspected child abuse to authorities. The attorney also argued that medical personnel have no duty in Maine law to protect a patient from harm inflicted by a third party — in this case, Orduna’s ex-boyfriend.
Walker, the federal judge, rejected that argument last year when he allowed Orduna’s case to go forward.
Hansley pleaded guilty on Nov. 9 to one count each of aggravated assault, a Class B crime, and one count of assault on a child less than 6 years old, a Class C crime, in connection with the alleged assault.
He was sentenced to nine years in prison with all but four years suspended to be followed by 5 ½ years of probation.
Hansley is incarcerated at the Bolduc Correctional Facility in Warren. His earliest possible release date is June 15, 2024, according to the Maine Department of Corrections.