Maya Kowalski - Medical care not always for the patient

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SlugSlinger

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At least this jury decided such.


“They want you to know that All Children’s did not harm this family,” hospital attorney Ethen Shapiro said. “The hospital practiced safe, evidence-based medicine. And we’re here to defend the hospital’s right to practice that medicine.”

Jurors evidently disagreed.


Maya Kowalski succeeds on all counts against hospital that medically kidnapped her and drove her mother to kill herself​

Colin KalmbacherNov 9th, 2023, 2:31 pm
Maya Kowalski reacts to her family's courtroom victory

Maya Kowalski reacts to her family’s courtroom victory on Nov. 9, 2023. (Law&Crime Network)

A Florida jury Thursday afternoon delivered substantial money justice to the surviving family members of a wife and mother who took her own life after she lost access to her daughter for nearly 90 days.

A unanimous six-person jury in Sarasota County determined Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg was liable for the incidents leading up to the January 2017 death of Beata Kowalski, 43. Also, unanimously, jurors determined the hospital had to pay the Kowalski family well over $210 million for the losses they endured.

In late 2016, then-10-year-old Maya Kowalski was admitted to the hospital for a debilitating condition called complex regional pain syndrome. She had suffered from the disorder since 2015 when she was 9, and the treatment that her doctors found worked best for her was ketamine therapy. But officials at the hospital balked. All Children’s staff reported Beata Kowalski for child abuse based on her suggestions and initiated a custody battle that took Maya away from her parents for 87 days. The results were disastrous.

Six days after Maya’s mother killed herself, she was reunited with her father. Beata’s widower, Jack Kowalski, filed the lawsuit. The ensuing legal battle became the basis for the popular Netflix documentary, “Take Care of Maya.” The film also cites support for Maya’s ketamine treatment – arguing that medical staff at the hospital pushed forward with the child abuse case against Beata Kowalski despite being told by her specialist that Maya would benefit from ketamine.

Across the board, the Kowalski family prevailed against the hospital on multiple claims of false imprisonment, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, medical negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligent training of doctors and healthcare providers, and fraud.

As the verdicts were read, a clean break for the family, Maya and her brother, Kyle, sobbed and consoled one another.

Closing arguments began early Tuesday.

Tears streamed down the faces of Beata Kowalski’s children as the family’s attorney, Nick Whitney, advised jurors on how they should answer the questions on the verdict form. Jurors were tasked to determine the basic question of whether or not the hospital was at fault for Beata Kowalski taking her life. Ancillary questions included how that loss impacted each member of the woman’s family – and if the hospital should be punished for each person’s loss.

The attorney also explained one potential formula the jury could use to determine the appropriate amount of damages.

“We submit to you if any of these three had an opportunity to pay a hundred dollars for an hour with their mom or their wife, they would do it,” Whitney said, his voice breaking with emotion. “They would pay a thousand dollars an hour. We don’t think a hundred dollars an hour is appropriate. We ask you to deliver justice for the Kowalskis.”

The second phase of the trial will determine the as-yet-unsettled amounts of the punitive damages that will be assessed against the hospital. Jurors agreed the hospital should be additionally punished for their wrongful actions that targeted the Kowalski family.

Throughout nine weeks, jurors heard from numerous experts and other, more direct witnesses called by attorneys for the plaintiffs and the defense. Maya’s former doctor, CRPS specialist, anesthesiologist, and pharmacologist, Dr. Anthony Kirkpatrick, who diagnosed her condition – and who began the ketamine treatments – testified how ketamine can benefit certain CRPS patients.

“The pain is coming from within the nerves itself, as opposed to the kind of pain you get when you injure yourself,” Kirkpatrick told jurors. “It was a low-dose conscious sedation, but they are talking to you. It is called conscious sedation; the higher you get the dose, the longer the response, the more vigorous the response, but there is a limit to how far you can go.”

For the defense, retired Stanford Medicine pediatrician Dr. Elliot Krane testified that, in his opinion, Maya did not even have CRPS. He also criticized Kirkpatrick and another doctor for the dosages of ketamine that were prescribed. Krane, who has never met or treated Maya but reviewed her charts, said he thought Maya had become dependent on ketamine by the time she was admitted to All Children’s.

Other witnesses for the defense testified to create an impression that, in line with hospital staff, they thought Beata Kowalski was actually the sick one – suffering from Munchausen Syndrome by proxy. The hospital argued that Beata Kowalski exaggerated and potentially caused whatever was wrong with her daughter.

In service of the hospital’s argument that Maya did not and does not suffer from chronic pain, attorneys during the defense’s waning case-in-chief last week submitted images from an Instagram account that belongs to one of the girl’s friends. In those images, Maya is dressed formally for this year’s high school homecoming dance.

Maya, who previously testified in dramatic fashion early on in the trial, testified again as a rebuttal witness. She criticized the hospital’s attorneys for trying to dig up dirt on her in such an intrusive way. As for the dance, she said, she only went so as not to disappoint her boyfriend, who bought the tickets — and she only stayed for an hour.

Her symptoms come and go, Maya told the jury on rebuttal, and she has not been living pain-free for the past few years.

Another CRPS specialist called by the defense as a rebuttal witness, Dr. Pradeep Chopra, told jurors that the pain associated with the condition can be localized or can migrate throughout the body.

The high-profile trial was overseen by Sarasota Circuit Court Judge Hunter Carroll. Late Tuesday, a jury question came to the judge about how they should interpret lost-income arguments proposed by economist Kristy Kirby. Another question was more basic — the jurors needed help accessing a flash drive that contained other evidence.

The Kowalski family complaint also accused the hospital of medically kidnapping and abusing Maya via the false child abuse claim and during her months of confinement. After an initial investigation by state child welfare authorities, hospital staff refused to let Maya go even though her parents wanted her transferred, the complaint alleged.

After nearly 16-and-a-half hours of deliberations, the jury used an economic formula more or less in line with Kirby’s math.

Throughout the proceedings, the hospital insisted that it had done nothing wrong. All Children’s defense attorneys claimed the efforts of hospital staff actually saved Maya’s life.
 

Jason Freeland

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At least this jury decided such.


“They want you to know that All Children’s did not harm this family,” hospital attorney Ethen Shapiro said. “The hospital practiced safe, evidence-based medicine. And we’re here to defend the hospital’s right to practice that medicine.”

Jurors evidently disagreed.


Maya Kowalski succeeds on all counts against hospital that medically kidnapped her and drove her mother to kill herself​

Colin KalmbacherNov 9th, 2023, 2:31 pm
Maya Kowalski reacts to her family's courtroom victory's courtroom victory

Maya Kowalski reacts to her family’s courtroom victory on Nov. 9, 2023. (Law&Crime Network)

A Florida jury Thursday afternoon delivered substantial money justice to the surviving family members of a wife and mother who took her own life after she lost access to her daughter for nearly 90 days.

A unanimous six-person jury in Sarasota County determined Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg was liable for the incidents leading up to the January 2017 death of Beata Kowalski, 43. Also, unanimously, jurors determined the hospital had to pay the Kowalski family well over $210 million for the losses they endured.

In late 2016, then-10-year-old Maya Kowalski was admitted to the hospital for a debilitating condition called complex regional pain syndrome. She had suffered from the disorder since 2015 when she was 9, and the treatment that her doctors found worked best for her was ketamine therapy. But officials at the hospital balked. All Children’s staff reported Beata Kowalski for child abuse based on her suggestions and initiated a custody battle that took Maya away from her parents for 87 days. The results were disastrous.

Six days after Maya’s mother killed herself, she was reunited with her father. Beata’s widower, Jack Kowalski, filed the lawsuit. The ensuing legal battle became the basis for the popular Netflix documentary, “Take Care of Maya.” The film also cites support for Maya’s ketamine treatment – arguing that medical staff at the hospital pushed forward with the child abuse case against Beata Kowalski despite being told by her specialist that Maya would benefit from ketamine.

Across the board, the Kowalski family prevailed against the hospital on multiple claims of false imprisonment, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, medical negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligent training of doctors and healthcare providers, and fraud.

As the verdicts were read, a clean break for the family, Maya and her brother, Kyle, sobbed and consoled one another.

Closing arguments began early Tuesday.

Tears streamed down the faces of Beata Kowalski’s children as the family’s attorney, Nick Whitney, advised jurors on how they should answer the questions on the verdict form. Jurors were tasked to determine the basic question of whether or not the hospital was at fault for Beata Kowalski taking her life. Ancillary questions included how that loss impacted each member of the woman’s family – and if the hospital should be punished for each person’s loss.

The attorney also explained one potential formula the jury could use to determine the appropriate amount of damages.

“We submit to you if any of these three had an opportunity to pay a hundred dollars for an hour with their mom or their wife, they would do it,” Whitney said, his voice breaking with emotion. “They would pay a thousand dollars an hour. We don’t think a hundred dollars an hour is appropriate. We ask you to deliver justice for the Kowalskis.”

The second phase of the trial will determine the as-yet-unsettled amounts of the punitive damages that will be assessed against the hospital. Jurors agreed the hospital should be additionally punished for their wrongful actions that targeted the Kowalski family.

Throughout nine weeks, jurors heard from numerous experts and other, more direct witnesses called by attorneys for the plaintiffs and the defense. Maya’s former doctor, CRPS specialist, anesthesiologist, and pharmacologist, Dr. Anthony Kirkpatrick, who diagnosed her condition – and who began the ketamine treatments – testified how ketamine can benefit certain CRPS patients.

“The pain is coming from within the nerves itself, as opposed to the kind of pain you get when you injure yourself,” Kirkpatrick told jurors. “It was a low-dose conscious sedation, but they are talking to you. It is called conscious sedation; the higher you get the dose, the longer the response, the more vigorous the response, but there is a limit to how far you can go.”

For the defense, retired Stanford Medicine pediatrician Dr. Elliot Krane testified that, in his opinion, Maya did not even have CRPS. He also criticized Kirkpatrick and another doctor for the dosages of ketamine that were prescribed. Krane, who has never met or treated Maya but reviewed her charts, said he thought Maya had become dependent on ketamine by the time she was admitted to All Children’s.

Other witnesses for the defense testified to create an impression that, in line with hospital staff, they thought Beata Kowalski was actually the sick one – suffering from Munchausen Syndrome by proxy. The hospital argued that Beata Kowalski exaggerated and potentially caused whatever was wrong with her daughter.

In service of the hospital’s argument that Maya did not and does not suffer from chronic pain, attorneys during the defense’s waning case-in-chief last week submitted images from an Instagram account that belongs to one of the girl’s friends. In those images, Maya is dressed formally for this year’s high school homecoming dance.

Maya, who previously testified in dramatic fashion early on in the trial, testified again as a rebuttal witness. She criticized the hospital’s attorneys for trying to dig up dirt on her in such an intrusive way. As for the dance, she said, she only went so as not to disappoint her boyfriend, who bought the tickets — and she only stayed for an hour.

Her symptoms come and go, Maya told the jury on rebuttal, and she has not been living pain-free for the past few years.

Another CRPS specialist called by the defense as a rebuttal witness, Dr. Pradeep Chopra, told jurors that the pain associated with the condition can be localized or can migrate throughout the body.

The high-profile trial was overseen by Sarasota Circuit Court Judge Hunter Carroll. Late Tuesday, a jury question came to the judge about how they should interpret lost-income arguments proposed by economist Kristy Kirby. Another question was more basic — the jurors needed help accessing a flash drive that contained other evidence.

The Kowalski family complaint also accused the hospital of medically kidnapping and abusing Maya via the false child abuse claim and during her months of confinement. After an initial investigation by state child welfare authorities, hospital staff refused to let Maya go even though her parents wanted her transferred, the complaint alleged.

After nearly 16-and-a-half hours of deliberations, the jury used an economic formula more or less in line with Kirby’s math.

Throughout the proceedings, the hospital insisted that it had done nothing wrong. All Children’s defense attorneys claimed the efforts of hospital staff actually saved Maya’s life.
The few times I recall us having to go to the court over kids, were generally issues like blood transfusions. Kid needed them and the parents didn't believe in them, so we would go to court to force it. I can't imagine my hospital actually trying to take custody of a child. That type of stuff was left up to DHS.
 

THAT Gurl

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I've been following along and let me tell you guys ... After working for a medmal firm, and my own personal experience with medical providers over the years, I absolutely believe this **** happens WAY more than most people realize.

Just like LEOs who go off the rails, the medical profession is a magnet for egotistical assholes who will stop at NOTHING to "be right" regardless of who it hurts ... Or how bad it hurts them.

And the administration and lawyers of these hospitals (just like the brass and legal departments of law enforcement agencies and insurance companies that write the malpractice policies) only care about limiting the medical conglomerate's liability.
 

TedKennedy

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I've been following along and let me tell you guys ... After working for a medmal firm, and my own personal experience with medical providers over the years, I absolutely believe this **** happens WAY more than most people realize.

Just like LEOs who go off the rails, the medical profession is a magnet for egotistical assholes who will stop at NOTHING to "be right" regardless of who it hurts ... Or how bad it hurts them.

And the administration and lawyers of these hospitals (just like the brass and legal departments of law enforcement agencies and insurance companies that write the malpractice policies) only care about limiting the medical conglomerate's liability.
The Thin White Line is no different than...well, you know.
 

okcBob

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Very unusual. This falls squarely on the hospital lawyers. Anytime these type of issues happen, the ethics & risk management (legal) hospital depts run the show. Ive been in meetings about this stuff & the docs give their clinical opinions, but administration has the last word. Usually because it’s a legal problem.
Not enough info in the story, but usually the hospital lawyers or DHS will go to a judge if there is a need for guardianship. That way the judge can decide who is the decision-maker , the parents or the court appointed entity.
But as someone smart once told me, juries can be unreliable 😀
 
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