If you watched Netflix’s heartbreaking documentary, Take Care of Maya, you’ll take a small amount of solace in knowing that the hospital involved has just been found liable for the wrongful death of Beata Kowalski.
Beata was Maya’s mum who died by suicide after the hospital separated her from her 10-year-old daughter for months.
She was completely banned from seeing Maya because the hospital believed she only had symptoms because her mother was making her sick.
Now, Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital in Florida will be held accountable for their decision.
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The hospital was found liable for multiple claims
As reported by CourtTV, the hospital was found responsible for multiple claims, including Beata’s wrongful death, causing emotional distress to her and her daughter, as well as false imprisonment and battery.
Additionally, the hospital was held liable for the fraudulent billing of Jack Kowalski, Maya’s father.
According to The Tampa Bay Times, The Kowalski family was granted over $211 million (AUD $331 million) in damages.
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Beata was accused of having Munchausen syndrome by proxy
Previously, the family claimed that the hospital played a role in the separation of Maya from her family, which they said led to Beata’s tragic suicide.
During her childhood, Maya was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), a rare neurological disorder known to cause agonising pain in response to the gentlest touch.
In 2016, her battle with the condition led her to Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital, where she was admitted for debilitating stomach pain.
It was during this time that the hospital staff reported Beata to the Department of Children and Families after she asked for Maya to receive ketamine treatment.
She said that the treatment had previously helped alleviate her symptoms in the past, but it was this very request that made the hospital sceptical and accuse her of having Munchausen syndrome by proxy. But following a comprehensive psychological evaluation, it was determined that she did not have the mental illness.
Despite this finding, she was placed in state custody and away from her family in the hospital. After a distressing period of over two months without her daughter and facing child abuse allegations, Beata died by suicide in the garage of the family home on January 2017 at the age of 43.
In an email that was discovered after she died, she wrote, “I’m sorry, but I no longer can take the pain being away from Maya and being treated like a criminal. I cannot watch my daughter suffer in pain and keep getting worse.”
Maya sobbed as the verdict was read out
Greg Anderson, the lawyer for the Kowalski family, alleged that the hospital’s actions ultimately “caused [Beata], in the end, to lose completely and utterly her ability to control her maternal instinct, and the fact outweighed the survival instinct.”
Now 17, Maya was visibly emotional and sobbed as the jury handed down the verdict on Thursday, announcing she had won her medical malpractice case.
In a statement to People after the verdict, defence counsel Howard Hunter, who represented the hospital in the case, said, “Hopkins All Children’s Hospital followed Florida’s mandatory reporting law in reporting suspected child abuse and, when those suspicions were confirmed by the district court, fully complied with Department of Children and Families (DCF) and court orders.”
The statement continued, “We are determined to defend the vitally important obligation of mandatory reporters to report suspected child abuse and protect the smallest and most vulnerable among us.
“We will continue to defend the lifesaving and compassionate care provided to Maya Kowalski by the physicians, nurses and staff of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and the responsibility of all mandatory reporters in Florida to speak up if they suspect child abuse.”
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