The hospital was found liable of multiple claims, including the wrongful death of Beata Kowalski and inflicting emotional distress on her, according to reports
Johns Hopkins Children's Hospital in Florida has been found liable in the wrongful death of Beata Kowalski, who died by suicide and whose ordeal was chronicled in the Netflix documentary Take Care of Maya.
According to CourtTV, which live streamed the decision, and WFTS and WTSP, the hospital was found liable of multiple claims, including the wrongful death of Beata and inflicting emotional distress on her, along with false imprisonment, battery, and inflicting emotional distress on her daughter Maya. The hospital was also found liable for the fraudulent billing of Jack Kowalski, Maya’s father, WFTS reports. The Kowalski family was awarded more than $211 million in damages, The Tampa Bay Times reports.
The Kowalski family previously alleged that the hospital played a role in separating Beata's daughter Maya from her family, which contributed to Beata's death by suicide. (The Kowalski's ordeal was featured in a PEOPLE cover story.)
As a child, Maya was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), a rare neurological condition that causes excruciating pain in response to the slightest touch, PEOPLE reported previously. In 2016, she was checked into Johns Hopkins Children's Hospital for debilitating stomach pain. While there, hospital staff reported Beata to DCF after she requested Maya be treated with ketamine, saying the drug had helped her daughter in the past.
Due to her requests, Beata was accused of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Through a psychological evaluation, it was eventually determined she did not have the mental illness, however, she was placed in state custody and remained in the hospital away from her family for more than three months, PEOPLE previously reported.
After more than two months without her daughter, Beata died by suicide in January of 2017, at the age of 43. “I’m sorry,” she wrote in an email discovered after her death, “but I no longer can take the pain being away from Maya and being treated like a criminal. I cannot watch my daughter suffer in pain and keep getting worse.”
Greg Anderson, the Kowalski family’s attorney, alleged the hospital's actions "caused [Beata], in the end, to lose completely and utterly her ability to control her maternal instinct, and the fact outweighed the survival instinct."
After the verdict was read on Thursday, Maya, now 17, became visually emotional.
In a statement to PEOPLE after the verdict, defense counsel Howard Hunter, who represented Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in this case, said: "Hopkins All Children’s Hospital followed Florida’s mandatory reporting law in reporting suspected child abuse and, when those suspicions were confirmed by the district court, fully complied with Department of Children and Families (DCF) and court orders. We are determined to defend the vitally important obligation of mandatory reporters to report suspected child abuse and protect the smallest and most vulnerable among us."
"The facts and the law remain on our side," the statement continues, "and we will continue to defend the lifesaving and compassionate care provided to Maya Kowalski by the physicians, nurses and staff of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and the responsibility of all mandatory reporters in Florida to speak up if they suspect child abuse.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to 988lifeline.org.
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.