Maya Kowalski was handed more than $200million after coming out victorious against Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital after they were found liable for her mother’s death.
The jury decided in the teenager’s favor, after she was falsely imprisoned by the Florida hospital – a story told by Netflix in the documentary ‘Take Care of Maya’.
Jurors decided the emotional distress caused to her mother Beata Kowalski – who was barred from visiting her child for three months – led to her suicide in 2017
17-year-old Maya was only ten when she was removed from her parents’ care after medical professionals accused them of faking symptoms of a rare but painful condition.
She endured harrowing trauma during her time in the care system.
But who was Maya’s social worker – Cathi Bedy – and where is she now?
Catherine Bedy (pictured) was appointed as Maya’s social worker after medical professionals suspected Maya’s mother had Munchausen syndrome by proxy
For eight weeks, jurors heard from the Kowalskis, doctors, nurses and experts in the $220 million lawsuit that was the focus of the harrowing Netflix documentary ‘Take Care of Maya’
Who is Cathi Bedy?
Catherine Bedy, also known as Cathi, was a social worker who was placed on Maya Kowalski’s case in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Medical professionals believed Maya’s mother, Beata, to have Munchausen syndrome by proxy, which is also categorized as a rare form of child abuse.
A care giver with the condition may not intend to be dishonest with medical health professionals, but their conduct may harm their child, according to the NHS.
The NHS explains: ‘For example the child may have unnecessary treatment or tests, be made to believe they’re ill, or have their education disrupted.’
10-year-old Maya was initially brought into Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital by her parents – Beata and Jack Kowalski – because she was experiencing extreme abdominal pain.
Her mother, who was a registered nurse asked medical professionals to give her daughter a large dose of ketamine, as she believed Maya was suffering from complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).
A local anesthesiologist, Anthony Kirkpatrick, who also manages a facility focusing on CRPS, believed the young Floridian had the condition – and also recommended she be treated via a ketamine infusion treatment.
Maya’s social worker had previously been charged with child abuse in 2007 after placing ‘both knees on [a] boy’s chest’ until the 10-year-olds face turned red (pictured Maya with her attorney Nick Whitney)
But hospital staff raised alarms at the request of the alarmingly high ketamine dose, with Dr Sally Smith – the medical director of the child protection team for Pinellas County – being called in to asses the situation.
Reportedly, Smith ‘tended to interpret cases aggressively’ according to Cosmopolitan, as Pinellas had one of the highest rates in Florida for children being removed from family homes.
Bedy was appointed as Maya’s social worker.
Prior to caring for Maya, Bedy had previously been accused of troubling actions.
Previously, she allegedly used harrowing strategies to control the behavior of a 10-year-old boy whilst she was managing foster care children for the Suncoast Center for Community Health.
In 2007, Bedy reportedly ‘grabbed the boy’s head, causing him to fall down’ and ‘placed both knees on the boy’s chest’, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The boy’s face then went red and he stated that he was unable to breathe.
According to Women’s Health an affidavit detailed Bedy telling the child: ‘Yes you can.’
Reportedly a therapist who was also present masked the boy’s face in a towel.
Initially, Bedy and the medical health professional were charged with one felony count of child abuse.
These charges were eventually dropped, after Bedy denied using her knees to restrain the child.
Shortly after, Maya was placed into Bedy’s care, Maya’s father, Jack, felt something was not ‘right’ with the 10-year-old.
Maya’s mom, Beata, (right) took her own life after she was diagnosed with a depressive mood and adjustment disorder upon being separated from Maya for almost three months
Maya claimed Bedy ordered her to take off her garments, leaving the 10-year-old only in her shorts and sports bra. Bedy told the then 10-year-old that she would be banned from seeing her mother in court if she did not allow her to take the images
After sleuthing online, the parents unearthed Bedy’s previous arrest and they tried to have their daughter reassigned to another social worker – but their attempts proved unsuccessful.
Later reports that emerged of Bedy’s alleged behavior towards Maya were harrowing.
The young girl alleged that Bedy would put her on her legs and embrace her.
In January 2017 another disturbing moment occurred for Maya when the social worker is alleged to have ordered the child to take off her garments, leaving the 10-year-old only in her shorts and sports bra – it was claimed
‘I was screaming, crying, yelling ‘”no”, I could not have made it any more clear [that I wanted her to stop],’ shared Maya.
Allegedly picturing the child for ‘risk management’, the social work reportedly threatened the young child.
Bedy allegedly told the 10-year-old that she would be banned from seeing her mother in court if she did not allow her to take the images, according to Radio Times.
Maya claimed Bedy had to ‘[hold] her down’ because she was adamant about not being photographed.
Parents, Jack and Beata, had no knowledge of images being taken of Maya.
The family were also suing the Florida medical facility, Maya’s social worker Cathi Bedy and Dr Sally Smith along with her employer, Suncoast Center. It remains unclear whether a settlement was brokered with Bedy
It remains unclear where Catherine Bedy currently works, but according to her LinkedIn she is currently residing in Clearwater, Florida (Pictured: The Kowalski family)
Where is Cathi Bedy now?
Maya successfully won her lawsuit of $200 million against the Florida children’s hospital.
The family were also suing the Florida medical facility, Maya’s social worker Cathi Bedy and Dr Sally Smith along with her employer, Suncoast Center.
In December 2021, the family settled with Smith and Suncoast for the sum of $2.5 million and the Kowalski family dropped its case against Bedy shortly before the trial began.
It remains unclear whether a settlement was brokered.
According to her LinkedIn page, Bedy still resides in Clearwater, Florida.
According to RadioTimes, the social worker documented that she was working as a licensed clinical social worker at OBGYN Associates.
As of November 10, the only workplace listed on her LinkedIn profile is Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.