• A jury determined that a Florida hospital played a role in Beata Kowalski’s suicide after accusations of child abuse were made against her daughter Maya
• The Kowalski family’s lawsuit resulted in a jury award of more than $261 million, including $50 million in punitive damages
• The hospital planned to appeal the decision, arguing that it acted in accordance with Florida law regarding suspected child abuse.
Here is what happened:
In the documentary Take Care of Maya, the question of whether accusations of child abuse against Beata Kowalski led to her suicide is explored. The family of Beata, including her daughter Maya Kowalski, argued in court that Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital falsely imprisoned and battered Maya, leading Beata to take her own life after being separated from her daughter for 87 days. The jury ultimately found the hospital liable for wrongful imprisonment, battery, medical negligence, and infliction of emotional distress, awarding the Kowalski family more than $261 million.
Maya Kowalski had been diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), a rare neurological disorder, and had undergone an experimental treatment using high-dose ketamine infusions. However, in 2016, she was taken to All Children’s Hospital with severe stomach pain. The hospital ended up filing a report alleging that Beata suffered from Munchausen by proxy, a psychological disorder in which a caretaker intentionally sickens, injures, or creates the appearance of health problems in a dependent, usually a child. This claimed diagnosis led to Maya being placed in the care of the state and a no-contact order between her and her mother.
Maya has accused the hospital of falsely imprisoning and battering her, denying her communication with the outside, and deliberately interfering with her treatment. She has described how she was in constant pain while in the hospital and how she was never listened to.
In the abuse investigation, Beata underwent a court-ordered psychological evaluation, which ultimately ruled out the diagnosis of Munchausen by proxy. However, she was greatly affected by the allegations against her, and it is suggested that this played a role in her subsequent suicide.