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Federal agency will pay $8 million settlement over Brewer clinic's failure to report child abuse

An Orono woman will receive $8 million in a settlement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services after a Brewer clinic failed to point out signs that her baby son was being physically abused.

Alexandria Orduna sued the federal agency that oversees Medicaid and Medicare, which operates the Brewer Medical Center where she took her son for treatment starting in 2018.

According to court documents, the boy had severe bruises and was beaten on multiple occasions by the man who was Orduna's boyfriend at the time.

The original lawsuit, filed back in 2020 in federal court in Maine, detailed how clinicians in Brewer saw the boy on multiple occasions and failed to tell Orduna or state authorities about "red-flag" signs of abuse.

The abuse continued, and it wasn't until Orduna took her son to the Eastern Maine Medical Center that doctors diagnosed him with several chronic injuries.

"There were facts just littered in this medical record that wouldn't go away. As the case developed, as we plodded through the lengthy discovery process, I think it became obvious to most rational people that this was completely avoidable and shouldn't have happened," said Terry Garmey, Orduna's attorney.

Most of the settlement will fund a special trust to cover the boy's medical expenses for the rest of his life.

"There is no denying that he has only a sliver of vision left, nor is there any denying that his brain will never return to normal after the severe beating he took," Garmey said. "He's doing better than anyone would have ever expected, and we hope that with appropriate care and nurturing that path will continue."

The rest of the settlement funds will cover legal expenses.