Can Maya Kowalski sue the hospital for medical kidnapping? | Lawsuit Explained

Netflix Maya Kowalski lawsuit

The troubled story and struggles of Maya Kowalski and her family came to light through Netflix’s documentary, Take Care of Maya. In 2016, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital forcibly held 10-year-old Maya away from her parents’ care when she visited them for CRPS symptoms. After facing great loss over 90 days, the family is suing for compensation but can they charge the hospital for ‘medical kidnapping’?

During her first visit, the doctors at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg Florida couldn’t fathom Maya’s condition. They also ignored her mother’s suggestion that she requires Ketamine to alleviate her symptoms. Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome can cause extreme pain and burning sensations. The specialist that Maya and her family initially approached recommended Ketamine for this rare disease.

Maya Kowalski’s lawsuit explained

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital reached out to Dr. Sally Smith, a former specialist in child protective services, who misdiagnosed the cause of Maya’s symptoms as Munchausen’s by proxy A.K.A. Factitious Disorder Imposed on Others. This condition is diagnosed when the caretaker (in Maya’s case, her mother, who was a nurse) produces a false history of illness.

  • Due to this misdiagnosis, they separated Maya from her mother for over 90 days. Maya’s mother Beata Kowalski struggled with the separation and passed away taking her life in January 2017. Following Beata’s death the hospital discharged Maya and she was re-diagnosed with CRPS under her father’s care.
  • The family sued multiple entities involved in the troubled misdiagnose and forced separation in 2018. The Maya Kowalski lawsuit against All Children’s, the Florida Department of Child and Families, All Children’s social worker Cathi Bedy, Dr. Sally Smith, and Smith’s employer, Suncoast Center is still ongoing.

Can Maya Kowalski charge the hospital for medical kidnapping?

Maya and her family are suing the hospital and people involved for hosting wrongdoings, medical malpractice, holding Maya against her will, dismissing her pediatrician, causing emotional distress to her mother, and forbidding Maya from accessing her rosary and prayer documents.

  • As per The Cut, the court confirmed there is substantial evidence supporting Maya Kowalski to receive compensation on charges of battery and false imprisonment. This can provide her justice and bring her ‘medical kidnapping’ to light.
  • Maya’s father, Jack Kowalski also shared that they ‘intent on discourage and prevent the hospital from needlessly separating children from their parents.’ This is possible thanks to Beata’s diligent documentation of the moments when Maya was suffering under the hospital’s misdiagnosis.

People involved in the Maya Kowalski lawsuit

Jack Kowalski is representing the case as the plaintiff on behalf of the whole family while Maya and her brother, Kyle Kowalski, will testify in court. The family settled with Dr, Sally Smith and Suncoast for $2.5 million in December 2021.

  • Smith also defended her 30-year record as a child abuse investigator while appearing for an interview with The Herald-Tribune. “I am extremely thorough and comprehensive in my evaluations as a pediatric and child abuse pediatric,” she said.
  • Cathi Bedy is a defendant in the case. Her charges may involve battery for holding Maya down to take her photos during her stay at the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital but the exact charges are unknown. There is also no update regarding her current practice as a social worker.
  • Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital is also a defendant in the case. As per the Netflix documentary Take Care of Maya, the hospital is claiming that DCF is responsible for all the decisions regarding Maya’s child abuse case.

When is the next date of trial?

The ongoing trial is progressing at a painstakingly slow pace since its filing in 2018. The judge presiding over Maya Kowalski’s case against Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital indefinitely delayed the case. This decision came right before the selection of the jury in March.

  • Maya Kowalski also testified multiple times which is included in the Netflix documentary, Take Care of Maya. She expressed the distress that staying at All Children’s has caused her by confessing that she no longer feels secure going to doctors and hates it.
  • The last moments of Netflix’s documentary reveal that the next date of trial is set for September 11, 2023. This time the case is likely to proceed under the attention of the media as well as the public supporting Maya Kowalski.

Netizens are also insisting that Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and everyone involved should face criminal charges for medically imprisoning Maya and creating unbearable distress for her family especially her mother Beata leading her to take her life.

You can learn more about Maya Kowalski and her family’s case through the documentary Take Care of Maya currently streaming on Netflix.

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