Newly revealed writings by Maya Kowalski’s mother indicate that she suffered from Munchausen by Proxy syndrome and was endangering her daughter’s life, lawyers argued this week.
In a draft of a 2015 blog post Beata Kowalski composed in her daughter’s voice, she wrote that her induced ketamine coma could result in “total body failure/death.”
Elsewhere, still writing from Maya’s perspective, she wrote that “if I was a horse I would be comatose or dead already.”
“My mommy kept vigil on me all day long and kept checking on me even at night to make sure I was doing okay,” the mother wrote of herself in the email draft.
Maya Kowalski, then 10, was admitted to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg for treatment of severe pain the following year.
Beata Kowalski told doctors her child was suffering from a rare condition called complex regional pain syndrome and that potent ketamine treatments she received in Mexico — including induced comas — had eased her suffering.
Wary of her demands and skeptical of Maya’s condition, doctors believed Beata was suffering from Munchausen by Proxy syndrome, where caregivers manufacture a child’s ailments for attention.
They eventually contacted Florida child welfare authorities, made Maya a ward of the state and barred her mother from seeing her.
After three months of separation and facing child abuse accusations, Beata Kowalski hanged herself in the garage of her family home in January 2017.
Asserting that the hospital acted recklessly in isolating Maya and minimizing her malady, her family is now suing the facility for $220 million.
Her father, Jack Kowalski, is alleging false imprisonment, medical malpractice and infliction of emotional distress.
Maya Kowalski — who testified at the ongoing trial she still suffers from her condition — said doctors at the hospital ignored her complaints of pain.
The case eventually became the subject of the Netflix documentary “Take Care of Maya” that was released earlier this year.
In other lengthy emails Beata wrote in her daughter’s voice, she described the rarity of her condition and the debilitating side effects of the ketamine treatments, including a distended stomach, waking up every 30 minutes at night, elevated temperatures and discomfort from a feeding tube.
“Thank God my mommy was there and she helped me right away,” Beata wrote.
Despite those discomforts, Beata wrote that the ketamine was the only path to a normal life and that Maya was equipped to tolerate the side effects.
“Ketamine gives me magical powers and I acted like a super-girl,” Beata wrote in her daugher’s voice.
At trial, Kowalski testified that the separation from her mother was deeply traumatic, especially at her young age.
She has insisted that her condition was and is real — and that combatting doubts has only made the condition worse.
A doctor who prescribed prior ketamine treatments for Maya previously testified that the approach was medically sound and eased her pain.
But testifying for the defense this week, Dr. Elliott Krane, Emeritus Professor of Anesthesiology and Chief of Pain Management at Stanford School of Medicine, told jurors that the regimen was dangerous and not practiced in the United States.
The trial is ongoing.