Doctor's suspicion tears apart a Venice family
Maya Kowalski’s only problem when she entered Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital was a severe stomachache. By the time the preteen left the St. Petersburg facility three months later, her condition had deteriorated, her family was shattered and her mother was dead. Under the lead of Dr. Sally Smith, the hospital accused Maya’s mother of a bizarre form of child abuse. The allegation triggered a court-ordered separation that isolated Maya from her family and sent the mother into despair. The ordeal illustrates the power that doctors and hospitals have to strip children from their families based on allegations of child abuse and how the state defers to their judgment. Desperate to end her daughter’s confinement and devastated by their separation, Beata Kowalski, a registered nurse and immigrant from Communist-era Poland, took her own life in January 2017.