The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

A Traumatizing Terror: The Kowalski Family Sues Johns Hopkins Hospital

A+Traumatizing+Terror%3A+The+Kowalski+Family+Sues+Johns+Hopkins+Hospital
Johns Hopkins Medicine

Many people claim that money buys happiness. To many, $261 million would be life-changing; nothing could get better… However, $261 million ended up being life-ENDING for Maya Kowalski. Despite being paid millions, she has had to go through unending heartbreak. 

This situation started when Maya was 10 years old. In 2015, Kowalski experienced excruciating pain that made it harder to breathe and problems with vision and other aspects of her health. Over the years, exhaustive measures were taken to cure Kowalski’s inexplicable illness, from being taken to many doctors to being given a plethora of medications. 

However, one day, she had such extreme pain that she was sent to the emergency room at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where even more problems started. According to iNews, Child abuse pediatrician Dr. Sally Smith accused Maya’s mom, Beata Kowalski, of causing these symptoms. So, being taken into custody by the hospital, Maya had to stay at the hospital for three months without her mother because of a judge’s order 

Initially, Maya Kowalski was completely unaware of the judge’s order and expected to see her mother the following day. 

“One day, I was at the ICU, and my mom kissed me on the forehead and was like, ‘I love you. I’ll see you tomorrow.’” Maya explained to iNews, “I never saw her again.” 

According to iNews, as a result of such distance from her daughter, Beata decided to commit suicide because of not being able to see her daughter for so many days. 

Because she was “medically kidnapped” and because they thought that she was “never getting out of this place,” Maya’s family launched a lawsuit against Johns Hopkins in 2018. 

Attorney Greg Anderson spoke on behalf of the Kowalski family at the trial, arguing that Maya was “falsely imprisoned and battered and denied communication with her family,” according to Fox13. Despite Johns Hopkins continuously denying the allegations against them, claiming that they acted “reasonably and prudently” as a way of approaching a very “difficult and challenging case,” Anderson argued that the medical institution erroneously accused Beata of being a hazard to the child, as she “did not come in with a bruise, bump, cut, scrape, or any bad medical tests,” which would have indicated any sort of home violence. 

On Thursday, November 9, 2023, Johns Hopkins was found to be guilty of false imprisonment, battery, and intentionally inflicting emotional distress on the Kowalski family as a whole. Due to the outcome of this case, the Kowalski family was awarded $211 million in damages and $50 million in punitive damages by the jury. 

Although the Kowalski family gained a couple hundred million dollars under their belts, they experienced the immense bereavement of losing their beloved family gem. With a heightened sense of urgency, multiple individuals worked incessantly and pushed boundaries to save Maya’s life, but in that lost another life.

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About the Contributors
Jacob Dardashti, Staff Writer
Jacob Dardashti (’25) is excited to write for The Echo. He likes to play tennis, bake, and travel. He looks forward to sharing his stories with an audience.
Maia Goldman, Staff Writer
Maia Goldman ('25) is excited to be writing for The Echo for this 2023-2024 school year! In her spare time, she enjoys being part of the Tenafly Tigers Marching Band, writing a plethora of creative stories, and watching the news. She aspires to be an international attorney someday.