Hospital at center of 'Take Care of Maya' lawsuit found liable in mother's suicide

vt-author-image

By Asiya Ali

Article saved!Article saved!

Trigger warning: This article contains repeated mentions of suicide and death.

The hospital chronicled in the Take Care of Maya documentary has been found liable for the wrongful death of Beata Kowalski, who tragically died by suicide.

The family of a teenager, whose ordeal was spotlighted in the heartbreaking Netflix documentary, has been awarded millions of dollars of damages in a lawsuit brought against Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital and the Department of Children and Families.

The medical institution was found responsible for numerous claims, including the wrongful death of the mother and inflicting emotional distress on her, along with false imprisonment, battery, and inflicting emotional distress on her 17-year-old daughter Maya, according to CourtTV.

In addition, the establishment was also found liable for the deceitful billing of Maya's father, Jack Kowalski. The Kowalski family was awarded more than $211 million in damages, The Tampa Bay Times reports.

wp-image-1263236121 size-full
Maya, Jack, and Kyle are featured in the heartbreaking Take Care of Maya documentary. Credit: Erik Tanner / Getty

The Kowalski family previously alleged that the hospital played a role in separating Beata's daughter Maya from her family, which contributed to Beata's death by suicide.

As a child, then-10-year-old girl Maya started suffering from symptoms of a rare neurological condition. In 2015, her parents sought several medical professionals to find out what was wrong with their little girl so they came across Dr. Anthony Kirkpatrick who officially diagnosed her with CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome).

The professional prescribed the child high doses of ketamine, but the drugs failed to work so the Kowalski family traveled to Monterrey, Mexico so that their daughter could be put in a ketamine coma.

The treatment had temporary results as a year later, Maya relapsed and had crippling stomach pain so her parents rushed her to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Watch this clip from the 'Take Care of Maya' documentary:

Her parents explained to the medical team that Maya had CRPS, and Beata - who was a registered nurse - urged medics to administer a high dose of ketamine, the one treatment they believed was sufficient for their daughter's discomfort.

However, this request raised concerns among hospital staff who alerted a child abuse pediatrician named Dr. Sally Smith to carry out an investigation.

An investigative team later accused Beata of child abuse and of having Munchausen by proxy - a mental illness where a parent makes up symptoms or causes real symptoms to make it look like their child is ill. As a result, the courts removed Maya from her family's custody despite a court-ordered psychological evaluation eventually determining that the mother did not have the mental illness.

Despite the psychological evaluation conclusion, the mother was still not allowed to see her daughter for over three months so she became increasingly depressed and ultimately ended up taking her own life at the age of 43.

"I’m sorry," she penned in an email discovered after her death, "but I no longer can take the pain of being away from Maya and being treated like a criminal. I cannot watch my daughter suffer in pain and keep getting worse."

As the verdict was read to the court, the loving family, who had fought for five years to get the case in front of a jury, sobbed and embraced each other. Maya held on to her mother’s rosary beads.

Meanwhile, defense counsel Howard Hunter, an attorney from Hill Ward Henderson who represented the hospital, issued a statement after the results, and said that they intended to seek an appeal "based on clear and prejudicial errors throughout the trial and deliberate conduct by plaintiff’s counsel that misled the jury".

"The evidence clearly showed that Johns 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," Hunter said in a statement, cited by The Independent.

“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."

"The facts and the law remain on our side," the statement continues, "and 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."

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org

Featured image credit: Erik Tanner / Getty

Hospital at center of 'Take Care of Maya' lawsuit found liable in mother's suicide

vt-author-image

By Asiya Ali

Article saved!Article saved!

Trigger warning: This article contains repeated mentions of suicide and death.

The hospital chronicled in the Take Care of Maya documentary has been found liable for the wrongful death of Beata Kowalski, who tragically died by suicide.

The family of a teenager, whose ordeal was spotlighted in the heartbreaking Netflix documentary, has been awarded millions of dollars of damages in a lawsuit brought against Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital and the Department of Children and Families.

The medical institution was found responsible for numerous claims, including the wrongful death of the mother and inflicting emotional distress on her, along with false imprisonment, battery, and inflicting emotional distress on her 17-year-old daughter Maya, according to CourtTV.

In addition, the establishment was also found liable for the deceitful billing of Maya's father, Jack Kowalski. The Kowalski family was awarded more than $211 million in damages, The Tampa Bay Times reports.

wp-image-1263236121 size-full
Maya, Jack, and Kyle are featured in the heartbreaking Take Care of Maya documentary. Credit: Erik Tanner / Getty

The Kowalski family previously alleged that the hospital played a role in separating Beata's daughter Maya from her family, which contributed to Beata's death by suicide.

As a child, then-10-year-old girl Maya started suffering from symptoms of a rare neurological condition. In 2015, her parents sought several medical professionals to find out what was wrong with their little girl so they came across Dr. Anthony Kirkpatrick who officially diagnosed her with CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome).

The professional prescribed the child high doses of ketamine, but the drugs failed to work so the Kowalski family traveled to Monterrey, Mexico so that their daughter could be put in a ketamine coma.

The treatment had temporary results as a year later, Maya relapsed and had crippling stomach pain so her parents rushed her to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Watch this clip from the 'Take Care of Maya' documentary:

Her parents explained to the medical team that Maya had CRPS, and Beata - who was a registered nurse - urged medics to administer a high dose of ketamine, the one treatment they believed was sufficient for their daughter's discomfort.

However, this request raised concerns among hospital staff who alerted a child abuse pediatrician named Dr. Sally Smith to carry out an investigation.

An investigative team later accused Beata of child abuse and of having Munchausen by proxy - a mental illness where a parent makes up symptoms or causes real symptoms to make it look like their child is ill. As a result, the courts removed Maya from her family's custody despite a court-ordered psychological evaluation eventually determining that the mother did not have the mental illness.

Despite the psychological evaluation conclusion, the mother was still not allowed to see her daughter for over three months so she became increasingly depressed and ultimately ended up taking her own life at the age of 43.

"I’m sorry," she penned in an email discovered after her death, "but I no longer can take the pain of being away from Maya and being treated like a criminal. I cannot watch my daughter suffer in pain and keep getting worse."

As the verdict was read to the court, the loving family, who had fought for five years to get the case in front of a jury, sobbed and embraced each other. Maya held on to her mother’s rosary beads.

Meanwhile, defense counsel Howard Hunter, an attorney from Hill Ward Henderson who represented the hospital, issued a statement after the results, and said that they intended to seek an appeal "based on clear and prejudicial errors throughout the trial and deliberate conduct by plaintiff’s counsel that misled the jury".

"The evidence clearly showed that Johns 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," Hunter said in a statement, cited by The Independent.

“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."

"The facts and the law remain on our side," the statement continues, "and 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."

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org

Featured image credit: Erik Tanner / Getty