Maya Kowalski, the true story: trial, settlement & updates

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Take Care of Maya, the documentary released on Netflix in June 2023, has been one of the most shocking visions of the year. It covers the true story of Maya Kowalski and her family: a young girl diagnosed with a rare disease and then held in state custody for weeks, after the child protection services accused her family of child abuse. The evolutions of that case are still ongoing, and viewers wanted to know more about the status of the trial and the settlement. In this article, we will provide the updated information available from the documentary and the news on the Internet.

You can watch the official trailer for Take Care of Maya here on Youtube.

Take Care of Maya, the true story of Maya Kowalski: the trial, settlement & updates

Since Take Care of Maya was released on Netflix, the media coverage of the true story of Maya Kowalski has drastically increased. has offered a detailed article about what happened to Maya: the young girl started to suffer from acute pain in the summer of 2015. Over the following months, it became hard for the family and the doctors to understand what the girl had. The doctor who first diagnosed Maya’s disease was Dr. Anthony Kirkpatrick: he explained Maya suffered from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), a rare neurological disorder that causes acute pain and extreme sensitivity.

Because of the CRPS, Maya Kowalski often took strong medications to reduce the pain. Her mother, Beata, was a nurse and strictly monitored her daughter’s condition over the months. In October 2016, Maya’s condition worsened, and she was hospitalized at the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. That marked the beginning of the extraordinary story explained in the Netflix documentary.

The doctors at the hospital raised concerns about the CRPS diagnosis and the medication dosages. They contacted Dr. Kirkpatrick, who confirmed the diagnosis, but they involved the child protection services, accusing Maya’s family of Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSP): a form of child abuse where a parent exaggerates the children’s symptoms to attract more attention than necessary. The Munchausen syndrome by proxy became famous in recent years thanks to cases exposed by series like The Act. Unfortunately, CRPS is such a rare disease that doctors often raise suspicions about the possibility that the patient (or the patient’s parents) is exaggerating the pain intensity.

Based on the doctor’s evaluation, in October 2016, a judge decided to put Maya Kowalski in state custody, separating her from her parents and forbidding her parents’ visits. This caused massive stress to Maya’s parents, ending up in a tragedy: Maya’s mother, Beata, took her own life in January 2017, after three months in that situation, being accused of a form of child abuse over her daughter. Five days later, Maya was released from the hospital and returned home.

This is a short recap of the true story of Maya Kowalski. The documentary Take Care of Maya also provides information about the Kowalski family’s lawsuit against the hospital. As we see in the documentary, the beginning of the trial was postponed and delayed for months, because the Second District Court of Appeal had to make a decision about the family’s right to pursue punitive damages.

As of today, we know that the trial is finally set to begin in September 2023. In December 2021, a settlement already occurred with the doctor who accused Beata of child abuse, and Maya Kowalski and her family received $2.5 million. However, the trial between Maya Kowalski, her family, and the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital still needs to provide the final verdict about this case: we will provide updated information in this article, based on the news available so far.

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