Take Care of Maya on Netflix: Where is Dr Sally Smith now?

‘I am not a horrible person whose goal in life is to disrupt families’

A new and heartbreaking Netflix documentary has been released, focusing on a family which was met with tragedy after finding out their daughter had a rare illness. It tells the story of the Kowalski family, through their own testimony, and more from those closest to the case. Another name featured in Take Care of Maya is Dr Sally Smith, someone who was placed in charge of Maya’s care.

Dr Sally Smith was a medical director, who worked in the child protection team in Pinellas County, Florida. She was brought in to access Maya Kowalski, and make decisions regarding her treatment.

Maya Kowalski had been admitted to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in 2016, following symptoms of severe pain, headaches, asthma attacks, lesions on her arms and legs and severe cramping in her feet.

Her mother said she had Complex Regional Pain Syndrome – known as CRPS – and had been using ketamine to relieve pain. Doctors called Beata “pushy” and didn’t believe her diagnosis, or why she would request such pain relief for her daughter.

Maya was placed in state custody and her parents were refused visits to her. Hospital staff, including Dr Sally Smith, became more and more suspicious, and stopped Beata, and the Kowalski family, from seeing Maya for months.

Take Care of Maya on Netflix

via Netflix

So, where is Dr Sally Smith from Take Care of Maya now?

At the end of the Netflix doc, it says in 2021 Dr Sally Smith and the Suncoast Centre, the company privatised children’s healthcare workers are employed by, settled their portion of the lawsuit with the Kowalskis. It’s been reported this was settled for $2.5million.

Dr Sally Smith declined to be interviewed for Taking Care of Maya on Netflix.

Take Care of Maya on Netflix, Dr Sally Smith

via Netflix

Right now, Dr Sally Smith is still listed as a member of staff at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. Her staff profile lists her as being a specialist in paediatrics, with an office in Florida. “Sally Smith, MD is on the medical staff of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Inc. (JHACH), but is an independent practitioner who is not an employee or agent of JHACH,” the page reads.

However, according to The Cut, Sally Smith has very recently retired this summer, after evaluating an estimated 3,000 cases across her career. As an independent practitioner, she could still be brought in to work on occasional cases.

“My job is not to make mistakes,” she told The Cut. “To my knowledge, I don’t have any cases where I’ve made an incorrect conclusion.”

She continued: “I am not a horrible person whose goal in life is to disrupt families. I have spent my adult life attempting to serve children in my community to ameliorate conditions of abuse and neglect. I wish our society did more to help struggling families to provide safe, nurturing homes to their children. I’m not a big proponent of punitive approaches for such families contrary to media portrayals about me.”

Take Care of Maya is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

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