We love catching up on all the latest documentaries on Netflix - but while all are informative, some leave us feeling incredibly emotional.


A new doc to do this is Take Care of Maya - the true story of now-teenager Maya Kowalski, who was diagnosed with a rare pain disorder as a child.

Coming from a tight-knit family, Maya’s biggest advocate was her mother Beata, who did everything she could to help her daughter get the medical care she needed.

But when Beata was accused of abusing her daughter, her life was turned upside down - and the consequences changed the family forever.

But just who was Beata, and what happened to her? Read on to find out…

Who was Beata Kowalski?

Maya and Beata Kowalski smiling
Maya and Beata Kowalski.

Trained as a registered nurse, Beata Kowalski was the mother of Maya Kowalski, a disabled child who was diagnosed with a condition called complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) in 2015.

In October 2016, when Maya was admitted to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital with a crippling stomach pain, Beata tried to step in and advise doctors on the best course of treatment for her daughter - but this kicked off a harrowing chain of events.

What happened to Beata Kowalski?

After Beata and her husband Jack told medical professionals at Johns Hopkins that a high dose of ketamine would be beneficial to Maya’s pain management - as it had previously worked when administered by doctors in the past - they alerted child protective services.

An investigative team then accused Beata of child abuse due to Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSP), a mental disorder in which a caretaker of a child either makes up fake symptoms or causes real symptoms to make it appear that the child is injured or ill.

Less than a week after Maya entered Johns Hopkins, she was placed in state custody and kept in a hospital away from her parents for three months, while a court ordered a psychological evaluation of Beata.

Unable to have any contact with her daughter, husband Jack describes Beata’s condition as "deteriorating", as she threw all her time into research - and says she was "destroyed" when a judge in a hearing denied Beata the chance to give her daughter a hug.

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Maya, Jack, Beata and Kyle Kowalski smiling
Maya, Jack, Beata and Kyle Kowalski.

Tragically, after more than 87 days without her daughter, Beata died by suicide in January 2017, at the age of 43. "I’m sorry," she wrote in an email discovered after her death, "but I no longer can take the pain of being away from Maya and being treated like a criminal. I cannot watch my daughter suffer in pain and keep getting worse."

Five days later, Maya was released into her dad’s custody and returned home. But now the family has filed a lawsuit against the hospital, which is scheduled for trial in September

"For us as a family to move on, we need to fulfil my mom’s wish and fight," Maya says. "I want justice for my mom."

A spokesperson from Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital told PEOPLE: "Our first responsibility is always to the child brought to us for care, and we are legally obligated to notify the Department of Children and Families (DCF) when we detect signs of possible abuse or neglect.

"It is DCF that investigates the situation and makes the ultimate decision about what course of action is in the best interest of the child."

Take Care of Maya is available to stream on Netflix. Sign up for Netflix from £4.99 a month. Netflix is also available on Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.

Check out more of our Documentaries coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to see what's on tonight.

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