A medical facility in Florida was hit with a $50 million fine after a jury ruled that it wrongfully separated a patient from her mother, who later committed suicide.
The verdict against the Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital brings the total amount of penalties against the institution to over a billion dollars.
The institution, which is featured in the Netflix documentary “Take Care of Maya,” is currently facing a total of $261 million damages.
The jury ruled that the hospital committed various violations, including placing the child under surveillance for 48 hours and making her undressed for photos.
In addition, a staff member was also found to have inappropriately touched the child, who was 10 years old at that time.
The child, named Maya Kowalski, was brought to the hospital in 2016 for treatment of a severe form of pain. Her mother, Beata, had asked for aggressive treatment.
According to Maya’s mother, she was placed in a coma in Mexico, which resulted in an improved state of her condition.
However, doctors eventually ruled that she suffered from a type of mental illness known as Munchausen by Proxy.
This occurs when a parent exaggerates or manufactures the symptoms of a child in order to gain sympathy.
During her trial, Kowalski testified that the staff members at the hospital dismissed her condition as a hoax.
The facility then reported Maya’s abuse to the authorities. After an investigation, she was placed in a medical ward, where she was kept away from her family.
After being fired from her job and facing child abuse allegations, Kowalski committed suicide three months later.
During the court proceeding, Maya clutched her rosary beads as the verdict was read.
She then cried uncontrollably after the court clerk revealed that the hospital was liable for her mother’s death.
A separate portion of the jury’s verdict was also carried out, and it included a $50 million punitive damage award, which was aimed at deterring similar actions.
After the deliberations, Maya said that she felt she had gotten justice.
The hospital’s lawyers had argued that the authorities were only informed about the child’s safety and well-being due to the hospital’s good faith efforts to help her mother.
They believed that the child’s mother was in favor of a risky treatment plan.
The defense team also produced excerpts of Maya’s emails, in which she talked about her previous treatments.
In one of the emails, she noted that the ketamine treatments could cause death.
An attorney for the hospital claimed that they would appeal the verdict, and he said that the trial had been heavily influenced by prejudicial elements.