Children's Health

published : 2023-11-10

Florida Hospital Ordered to Pay Over $200M in Damages after Mother's Suicide

Jury finds that Johns Hopkins All Children's falsely imprisoned Maya Kowalski, leading to severe emotional distress

Maya Kowalski testifying in court about her experience (taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark IV)

Maya Kowalski, the young woman at the center of an alleged child medical abuse case in Florida that drove her mother to suicide, testified on Monday about her experience.

A Florida jury on Thursday awarded more than $200 million in damages to the family of Maya Kowalski.

The jury found that Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital had falsely imprisoned Maya, fraudulently billed her family, and caused them severe emotional distress.

Maya cried and grasped a rosary in her hand as the jury's decision was read aloud in court.

Later on Thursday, the jury awarded a total $50 million in punitive damages to the Kowalski family.

Staff at the hospital suspected that Maya's mother, Beata Kowalski, was suffering from Munchausen syndrome by proxy.

Close-up of Maya Kowalski holding a rosary during the jury's decision (taken with Nikon D850)

Howard Hunter, an attorney representing the hospital, thanked the jury for their time and attention and stated that they plan to appeal the decision.

Maya's mother, Beata Kowalski, was accused of medical abuse after explaining her daughter's condition and treatment to hospital staff.

The case has made recent headlines after inspiring the popular documentary series 'Take Care of Maya'.

In 2016, Maya was admitted to Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital for severe pain caused by her rare medical condition.

A court order later removed Maya from the custody of her parents after staff accused Beata of medical abuse.

Beata hanged herself in January 2017 after being separated from her hospitalized daughter for months.

Beata Kowalski explaining her daughter's condition to hospital staff (taken with Sony Alpha a7 III)

Multiple witnesses testified that Beata had been exhibiting signs of Munchausen syndrome by proxy.

The Kowalski family alleged that the hospital billed their insurance company despite claiming that Maya did not have the condition.

Maya's father sued the hospital and medical personnel involved in her treatment, alleging that they falsely accused Beata and failed to properly care for his daughter.

Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital maintains that they followed the law and reported suspected child abuse.

This case raises questions about the responsibility of hospital staff to report suspected abuse and protect vulnerable children.

The documentary series 'Take Care of Maya' provides a closer look at Maya and Beata's journey with their rare medical condition.