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Jury finds hospital liable for $220 million 'Take Care of Maya' case

Florida jury awards family of Maya Kowalski millions of dollars in damages after hospital's actions led to mother's suicide.

A Florida jury has awarded the family of Maya Kowalski, who is the subject of Netflix's "Take Care of Maya," millions of dollars in damages after finding Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital liable for all civil claims in the "Take Care of Maya" trial. The jury preliminarily awarded the Kowalski family $211,451,174 after concluding that the hospital's actions led to a mother's suicide.

The hospital was found liable for false imprisonment, battery, fraudulent billing, inflicting emotional distress, wrongful death, and intentionally inflicting emotional distress. The lawsuit was filed by Jack Kowalski on behalf of his children Maya and Kyle and the estate of his late wife Beata, who took her own life in Jan. 2017 after the hospital's treatment and accusations of child abuse.

The case began on Sept. 21, with the prosecution accusing the hospital of medical malpractice, battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and fraud. The hospital's attorney argued that the actions taken by John Hopkins were reasonable and in the best interest of the patient.

The lawsuit initially named multiple defendants, but an eighth amended complaint listed only the hospital and a social worker, Catherine Bedy, as defendants. Bedy was later removed as a defendant.

Maya was admitted to the hospital in July 2015 for a severe asthma attack and was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome in Sept. 2015. She was given ketamine infusion treatments to treat the diagnosis, which caused her symptoms to improve. However, in Oct. 2016, she began to experience abdominal pain and vomiting, and her mother, Beata, asked for her to be given the appropriate dosages of pain medications she needed.

The suit alleges that hospital personnel became offended and defensive by Beata's suggestions and reported her to the DCF Child Abuse Hotline. Despite DCF finding valid prescriptions for the dosages of ketamine on file and being told to close the investigation, the hospital then tried to fight Jack and Beata when they tried to remove Maya from the hospital. The hospital brought in a pediatrician who was, in fact, the hospital's director of child abuse and was granted access to Maya's medical record to build a case of child abuse against the family.

The lawsuit accused the hospital of working with its staff to "imprison" Maya without legal justification and barring her family from visiting, leading to Beata's depression, fatigue, and overwhelming sense of hopelessness.

The hospital has denied the allegations and said that its staff are required by law to notify Florida's Department of Children and Families if they suspect abuse or neglect. The hospital looks forward to demonstrating to the Court and jury that all of the appropriate and legally required processes were followed by its staff.

This case highlights the importance of patient care and the potential consequences of medical malpractice, as well as the impact it can have on families. The jury's decision to award the Kowalski family millions of dollars in damages reflects the severity of the situation and the need for accountability in the healthcare system.

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