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The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

‘Take Care of Maya’ family awarded $261M in jury verdict

The family of Maya Kowalski, whose story of medical controversy was the subject of the Netflix documentary “Take Care of Maya,” was awarded $261 million by a jury in November. (Photo obtained from IMDB)

In an end to a tragic national case that gained social media attention due to the Netflix documentary “Take Care of Maya,” a jury found John Hopkins Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla. guilty on multiple charges in a case involving 17-year-old Maya Kowalski on Nov. 9, including false imprisonment, medical negligence and fraud. The court awarded the Kowalski family $261 million in total, with $211 million dollars for compensatory damages and $50 million for punitive damages concerning her medical treatment by staffers at the hospital. 

“For the first time, I feel like I got justice,” Maya said in public remarks after the verdict was announced.

On Sept. 11, Maya Kowlaski and her father, Jack, sued John Hopkins Children hospital for false imprisonment, medical negligence, battery, fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other distress the hospital caused their family, including weathering the suicide of Maya’s mother, Beata, according to reporting from the New York Post. 

The story began in October 2017, when Maya was taken to John Hopkins Children Hospital after experiencing excruciating pain throughout her body. Previously, Maya had been diagnosed with a rare neurological condition called “complex regional pain syndrome” (CRPS) which affects the movement of her limbs. Dr. Anthony Kirkpatrick, a pain medicine specialist, diagnosed Maya with CRPS and prescribed her with ketamine, a strong and intense drug. However, Maya’s family couldn’t afford the treatment, and eventually admitted her to John Hopkins Children’s Hospital. 

After the hospital examined Maya, they believed she was given an unhealthy amount of ketamine by her mom, Beata Kowalski, as reported by Fox 13. The hospital believed Beata the mother was faking Maya’s pain and thought that Maya was a victim of Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another (FDIA) in which a parent fakes a child’s illness in order to get sympathy and compassion. Hours later, an investigator and numerous other hospital staffers contacted child abuse services in Florida, resulting in Maya being placed in state custody and away from her parents.

Beata became depressed and did everything in her power to get her daughter released from state custody, according to an article from New York Magazine. She relentlessly called the hospital and hired a lawyer in attempts to get her daughter back. The hospital resisted these requests, but meanwhile continued to bill the Kowalski’s insurer for expensive medical treatments.

In a courthouse appearance that Maya and her parents attended separately, they pleaded to see and hug each other while being in the same room. Officials denied their request. Less than 48 hours after that appearance, Beata took her own life, according to reporting from NBC News.


Behind the Byline
Justin Misher, Apprentice Editor
Justin Misher is a 2023-2024 Apprentice Writer for the Wessex Wire. He enjoys watching the Knicks, Giants and Mets, hanging out with friends and going down the shore. His favorite food is steak and his favorite TV show is Friends.
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