St. Pete Hospital Sued by Family over Child's Detention, Mother's Suicide

Wheelchair with teddy bear in hospital corridor

Photo: FangXiaNuo / E+ / Getty Images

(Sarasota, Fla) - A trial is underway in a Sarasota County courtroom, in a tragic case that's attracting worldwide attention.

The father of teenager Maya Kowalski is suing Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, claiming hospital staff and DCF falsely took the girl into custody in 2016, believing her mother was making her sick.

The Kowalski family is suing the hospital for more than 200-million dollars. Maya's mother hung herself after being barred from seeing her daughter for three months.

In 2015, Maya was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), a rare neurological condition that can cause excruciating pain in response to the slightest touch.

In 2016, Maya was checked into the Children's Hospital for debilitating stomach pain. Hospital staff reported her mother, Beata, to authorities after she requested Maya be treated with ketamine, saying the drug had been effective for Maya in the past.

An investigative team later accused Beata of child abuse due to Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSP), a mental disorder in which a caregiver fakes or causes symptoms to make a child look sick.

The trial will determine whether the entire series of events could have been prevented and whether the hospital had a role in Beata's suicide.

The family is suing the hospital for $220 million: the Kowalski family demands $55 million be in compensatory damages, and $165 million be paid in punitive damages.

The ordeal was chronicled in the Netflix documentary "Take Care of Maya."

Listen to our "Krime" podcast detailing opening arguments in the "Take Care of Maya" trial.

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