Maya Kowalski has said that her family still hasn’t had justice after the death of her mum, years after she killed herself over false allegations that she was medically abusing her own daughter.
Now, Maya and her family’s tale is the subject of a new Netflix documentary called Take Care of Maya, which tells the story of how she was brought to doctors after suffering from mysterious pain, but eventually turned out to have a rare condition.
Before that, the doctors became suspicious that Maya’s mother Beata was abusing her and falsifying her illness, something called Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy.
10-year-old Maya was separated totally from her mother and received minimal contact with her father for months after that, before her mother eventually died by suicide.
Maya was born in 2006, but in 2015 she started feeling really bad.
She’d had an asthma attack a few weeks earlier, but started experiencing blurred vision and a burning sensation in her feet, eventually leaving her unable to walk.
Beata - a nurse - could allegedly hear her daughter screaming at night, and couldn’t figure out what her symptoms were.
After scouring many different doctors, they eventually found a doctor who specialised in CRPS - chronic regional pain syndrome - who diagnosed her with the rare condition.
That doctor suggested ketamine to alleviate the pain, as he’d seen success before.
However, in October 2016 Maya was taken to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital with agonising stomach pains.
Beata asked the medical staff to give her ketamine in high dosage for the pain, but they didn’t.
Instead, they suspected that she was abusing her child, after which she was separated from her daughter.
She also discovered that one of those people caring for Maya had child abuse charges against her.
A later psychological evaluation found that Beata did not have Munchausen’s by proxy.
Despite this, she died by suicide in 2017 after 87 days away from her daughter.
Speaking to People, Maya explained: "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.
"I was medically kidnapped. I tried being hopeful, but there was a point where I thought, 'I'm never getting out of this place'."
Five days after Beata’s death, Maya was allowed home.
Now 17, Maya and her family have never had justice, and still suffers with her CRPS.
There’s a court order in place to stop her receiving ketamine treatment.
Despite that, she claims that she tries to ‘push through’ and wants ‘to make the most of life now’, adding: “I’ve already missed a lot.”
Clearly, the family still want justice for Beata, though.
A lawsuit was launched in October 2018, accusing a number of organisations including the hospital and child services of ‘a host of wrongdoings, including medical malpractice, holding Maya against her will, dismissing the advice of her paediatricians, ignoring signs that her mother was on the verge of a breakdown and forbidding Maya access to her rosary and prayer documents’.
Maya said: "For us as a family to move on, we need to fulfil my mom's wish and fight.
"I want justice for my mom."
In December 2021 the family settled with one doctor and her company for $2.5 million (£1.9m), but the legal battle continues, with a trial set for September.
Take Care of Maya is on Netflix now.Featured Image Credit: Netflix