Maya Kowalski sobs as jurors in $220 million ‘Take Care of Maya’ case find hospital liable for malpractice

Maya Kowalski, the young woman at the centre of a medical abuse case, was unable to hold back tears as it was agreed in court that the hospital she was treated in was liable for malpractice.
The Kowalski family were in the process of suing Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital for $220 million.

On Thursday (9 November), the jury reached its verdict.

When Maya Kowalski was 10, in 2016, she was diagnosed with a rare medical condition called complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and was admitted to Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital (JHAC) in St. Petersburg, Florida, for the neurological condition.

The medical staff concluded that her symptoms were not real and her parents were accused of medical abuse.

Maya was separated from her parents after the hospital contacted the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). She was then made an involuntary medical ward of the state.

The Netflix series, Take Care of Maya, documents the difficulties the family faced, most notably Maya's mother, Beata Kowalski, taking her own life.
Beata took her own life in January 2017 after 87 days of being restricted from seeing her daughter.

In the lawsuit, the Kowalski family said the hospital had wrongfully committed Maya and should not have separated her from her mother.

On Thursday, the hospital was found liable on multiple claims, including the wrongful death of Beata, false imprisonment, battery, and inflicting emotional distress on Maya and her mother.

Both Maya, now 17, and her brother erupted into tears as the verdict was read out in the courtroom.

According to Court TV, the judge ordered the hospital to pay a total of $50m on top of the initial damages of more than $200m.

In his closing statement, Ethen Shapiro, the lawyer representing the hospital, claimed it had attempted to ensure a better future for Maya in their actions.

He said: “The reason why All Children’s did what it did, the reason why All Children’s tried to comfort Maya, the reason why All Children’s tried to get her on a safe medical path is because the loving and caring providers at my clients’ hospital believed in a better future for her if they could get her off the unnecessary drugs given at dangerous levels.”
Beata was a registered nurse and prior to being barred from seeing her daughter, she had told doctors Maya should be given doses of ketamine to quell her symptoms, as it had proven successful in the past.

Staff argued this approach was not in line with conventional medical practice and a judge ordered Maya be held in state protective custody as an investigation was launched against her mother who was accused of Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSP).

The hospital is expected to appeal the verdict and the attorneys for the hospital have accused the court of ‘clear and prejudicial errors’.

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