The Netflix documentary Take Care of Maya, directed by Henry Roosevelt, introduces us to Maya Kowalski and her tragic journey from illness to health. Through this documentary, she wanted to present her mother’s tireless efforts behind restoring her health as well as expose the flaws within our legal system. Her journey showcases the loss of her loved one and her constant struggle to return to normalcy. Let’s delve into the chilling true story of Maya Kowalski’s family to know what happened to her.
What Happened To Maya Kowalski?
Maya was born in Venice, Florida, and lived a peaceful, regular childhood, much like any other young girl in the town. Her father, Jack, was a dedicated firefighter, and her mother, Beata, pursued a career as a nurse. Beata was an inspiration to her, showing that hard work and determination could help her overcome any obstacle. Her younger brother, Kylie, completed their loving family. But in 2015, her life took an unexpected turn. She fell ill, experiencing excruciating pain and lesions all over her body. She started developing shortness of breath, constant coughing with mucus and her legs started bending, which was a sign of dystonia. She couldn’t move her legs or lift her hands, and while trying to do so, she felt extreme pain. It was a terrifying experience, and her mother knew something was seriously wrong. They sought medical help, but doctors couldn’t pinpoint the cause of her suffering. Frustratingly, they dismissed her symptoms as anxiety or something that was psychological in nature, despite her insistence that they were not.
Her mother, never one to give up, continued her tireless search for answers. Through her research, she discovered Dr. Kirkpatrick’s clinic, where she finally received a diagnosis: CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome). It was a relief to have a name for the pain that consumed her. Ketamine was given as a therapy, but standard approaches proved ineffective. Her parents transported her to Mexico for a coma treatment with intravenous ketamine, determined to obtain the finest care for her. The medication was effective; however, it caused hallucinations as a side effect. Her parents concentrated on her recovery and supported her throughout these difficulties. Her upper limbs improved over time, but her legs remained a source of constant pain. Dr. Hanna recommended low-dose oral ketamine in conjunction with physical therapy. Gradually, she began to regain her health and hope for a better future.
What Happened To Maya’s Mother?
However, Maya’s life took a tragic twist. In October 2016, as her condition deteriorated, she was admitted to John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. The pediatricians became concerned when her mother mentioned the ketamine treatment, as they were unaware of its effectiveness. They proceeded to accuse her mother of mistreating Maya and diagnosed her with Munchausen syndrome by proxy. This false accusation shattered Maya’s world. During the ongoing case of child abuse against her mother, she was kept away from her home. She considered her three-month stay at the hospital nothing less than imprisonment. She couldn’t get to see her mother, nor could she call her. She felt lost and confused, wondering why the people who were supposed to help her were tearing her family apart. Her mother fought tirelessly to prove her innocence, but the legal system turned against her. Days turned into weeks, and weeks into months as she languished in the hospital’s pediatric care under the watchful eye of a social worker named Catherine Bedy. She saw glimpses of Catherine’s true nature as she forcibly removed her clothes and monitored her conversations with her mother. But the court overlooked these incidents. The constant surveillance and false reports against her mother took a toll on her already fragile mental state. She saw her mother’s resilience waver, and it broke her heart.
Then the unimaginable happened. Her mother took her own life. The pain of losing her was unbearable for little Maya. She had fought so hard for her, and now she was gone. After Beata’s death, Maya was released from the hospital and sent to Rhode Island for specialized treatment, but her recovery was marred by the trauma and grief that consumed her. Due to the traumatic events she had experienced, she developed a deep sense of suspicion toward hospitals and healthcare personnel. The unjust accusations made by medical professionals and their lack of familiarity with her condition left her with a profound distrust of the healthcare system. The false accusations of child abuse against her mother, along with the intrusive surveillance and mistreatment she endured during her hospital stay, further solidified her belief that healthcare facilities were not always safe spaces.
Motivated by their desire for justice and a determination to prevent others from enduring similar mistreatment, Maya’s family took the bold step of filing a lawsuit against the hospital and the Department of Children and Families. They knew that their story had the potential to shed light on systemic issues and bring about much-needed change. As their story gained traction, people from all walks of life who had experienced similar mistreatment, or knew someone who had, began to speak out. It came to light that in at least twelve cases of false accusations of child abuse, Dr. Sally Smith, the child abuse pediatrician, had taken drastic measures without proper evidence, based only on her speculations. She had destroyed many families, breaking their trust in the healthcare system.
Where Is Maya Kowalski Now?
Maya Kowalski, now a seventeen-year-old residing in Florida, has managed to maintain an optimistic outlook on life. However, there have been moments where her patience has been pushed to the brink. The prolonged delay of the court hearing and the judge’s refusal to listen to Maya’s side of the story were particularly devastating experiences for her, especially considering her young age. The interviews featuring Maya in the documentary were heartbreaking to witness. She was a beautiful young woman who had endured multiple devastating losses in her life. Nonetheless, Maya remains determined to forge a path for herself where she can shine and make her parents proud. Although the trauma she has endured continues to impact her and the void left by her mother’s passing remains, Maya has learned to confront and manage these emotions. She understands that in order to honor her mother’s memory and bring her happiness, she must move forward in life and strive for success. In the concluding part of the documentary, Maya read a heartfelt letter that she dedicated to her mother. She expressed her gratitude for her mother’s presence in her life and acknowledged the impact she had on shaping the person she had become. With a heavy heart, Maya bid a final farewell to her mother, knowing that she never had the opportunity to say goodbye in person. This cathartic act allows Maya to find closure and continue her journey, carrying her mother’s memory with her every step of the way.