Teenager wants hospital charged after mother committed suicide trends now
A teenager is seeking justice for her mother who took her life after Florida doctors wrongly accused her of Munchausen by proxy - a mental illness and a form of child abuse - leading to the girl being placed in state custody.
Maya Kowalski, 17, shares the heart-wrenching story in a new Netflix documentary, Take Care of Maya, that will premier at the Tribeca Festival and be available for streaming on June 19.
Maya was nine when she began suffering from excruciating headaches, asthma attacks and painful lesions that formed on her arms and legs, and cramping and curling sensations in her feet.
When doctors at a local hospital were baffled with her medical condition Maya's parents, Jack and Beata Kowalski, who were desperate for answers, started doing research on their own.
Maya's mom Beata, a registered nurse, did her own research and discovered that her her daughter may have the condition CPRS - complex regional pain syndrome. After visiting a specialist, Maya's diagnosis was confirmed.
Maya Kowalski, 17, sits in the Sarasota County Courthouse with her attorneys during a case management hearing pn January 22, 2019
Maya Kowalski, 17, shares the heart-wrenching story about her mother Beata Kowalski (together) in a new Netflix documentary, Take Care of Maya, that will premier at the Tribeca Festival and be available for streaming on June 19
A photo of John Hopkins All Children's Hospital located in St. Petersburg, Florida
Dr. Anthony Kirkpatrick, an anesthesiologist and pharmacologist in Tampa who specializes in CRPS, used the anesthetic drug, ketamine on Maya, which she received through infusions, as per People.
He then recommended a more aggressive treatment, described as a 'ketamine coma,' where the patient receives five days of treatment to essentially 'reset' the nervous system.
The procedure, still experimental, had not yet been approved by the FDA so Maya and her family traveled to Mexico in 2015 to have it done despite knowing the risks involved.
'It was the only hope we had,' Maya's dad told the news outlet.
The teenager said she felt 'amazing' after the procedure and continued to receive ketamine infusions to manage flare ups as the specialist said there was no cure for the disorder.
But, less than a year after the experimental treatment, Maya was rushed to the John Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida with excruciating stomach pain.
Maya's parents told the medical team treating her that she had CRPS and needed high doses of ketamine, which they believed was the only way to help alleviate their daughter's crippling pain.
Her mother also told hospital staffers she was a trained registered nurse but hospital staff reportedly alerted protective services who later accused Beata of child abuse due to Munchausen syndrome by proxy, (MSP).
Munchausen syndrome by proxy is a mental illness and a form of child abuse. The caretaker of a child, most often a mother, either makes up fake symptoms or causes real symptoms to make it look like the child is sick, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Maya was soon placed into state custody for three months though a court-ordered psychological evaluation cleared her mother of any mental illness.
'One day I was in the ICU, and my mom kissed me on the forehead and was like, 'I love you. I'll see you tomorrow.' I never saw her again,' Maya said.
'I was medically kidnapped,' she said.
Beata soon fell into despair after being unable to care for her daughter. And, when a judge denied her from giving her daughter a hug at a court hearing, it broke her.
It 'destroyed her,' Maya's father said, and his wife became inconsolable after.
In January 2017, Beata took her life.
Beta was 43. She had spent more than 87 days without her daughter. An email was found after her death with the words, 'I'm sorry.'
'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,' she wrote.
Maya's father, who had also been in distress over his daughter getting ripped away from him and her mother, now had to share the unbearable news that her mother took her life
Beata was 43 years old when she took her life on January 2017 after staff at John Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida accused her of Manchausen by proxy - when the caretaker of a child, most often