Netflix’s ‘Take Care of Maya’ teen Maya Kowalski’s father gives emotional testimony in


The father of teenager Maya Kowalski who was separated from her family and held in a Florida hospital as a child has given an emotional testimony into his daughter’s condition at the time she was detained.

Jack Kowalski took to the stand in a $220 million court case against Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital to tell the court how his daughter’s chronic illness meant showering left her ‘screaming in pain’.

Maya, 17, suffered from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and was receiving hospital treatment for the agonizing illness, when doctors accused her parents of faking her symptoms.

She was removed by the state and forbidden from seeing her family for almost three months. During this time, her mother Beata Kowalski, fell into a deep depression and ended up taking her life before she was ever able to see her daughter again.

The family’s heartbreaking story is at the center of an explosive Netflix documentary called ‘Take Care of Maya’ as well as the multi million dollar court case against the hospital, which began last month.

Jack Kowalski told the court that his daughter's condition was real to the point where showering left her 'screaming in pain' as he took the stand in a $220 million lawsuit against Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital

Jack Kowalski told the court that his daughter’s condition was real to the point where showering left her ‘screaming in pain’ as he took the stand in a $220 million lawsuit against Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital

On Monday, Jack Kowalski testified that his daughter’s condition was real, Fox News reports.

He said: ‘If she took a shower, the droplets of water would make her scream. ‘You put a sheet over her legs, and she would scream.’

The father described how his daughter’s body began to ‘deteriorate’.

He said: ‘You know your child. Your child is not going to fake this and not play with my friends outside and just sit around and watch your body deteriorate; along with that, you don’t put lesions on your body yourself.’ 

He also insisted that he and his wife, who was a nurse, only ever had their daughter’s best interests at heart.

He added: ‘Beata was looking for the answer. She knew there was nothing wrong with Maya’s head.’

Maya was removed from her parents care after hospital staff became suspicious of her mother’s insistence she be prescribed ketamine to treat her chronic pain. 

Florida’s Department of Children and Families and a state judge supported hospital staff’s suspicions of ‘child medical abuse’ and placed Maya under Florida’s Department of Children and Families’ custody and she was housed at the center. 

Maya Kowalski (pictured left) was detained at a Florida hospital after staff suspected her mother Beata (centre) could be faking symptoms for her chronic pain condition

Maya Kowalski (pictured left) was detained at a Florida hospital after staff suspected her mother Beata (centre) could be faking symptoms for her chronic pain condition

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’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

But Kowalski told the court the family were advised that the drug was safe by Dr Anthony Kirkpatrick, who had prescribed the treatment and that Maya had improved following its use.

He said: ‘He explained the procedure, he talked about it’s been around for quite a long time, he mentioned it’s used for many things, and it’s safe. There is the side effect when they’re coming out of it is a hallucination for a short time, but then everything is back to normal.’

However, under cross examination he did admit to being aware there was a risk involved with the medication.

The court was also played an interview with Sheriff’s Deputy Graham in which Kowalski admitted that he had noticed Maya would suddenly develop pain symptoms in the presence of her mother. 

Kowalski was cross examined as part of a civil lawsuit against the hospital which got underway in Venice, Florida.

As part of the lawsuit the family claim that Maya was videotaped for 48 hours and on another occasion, stripped down to her underwear and photographed with the permission of a guardian or the dependency court. 

AndersonGlenn LLP, who launched the lawsuit on behalf of the Kowalski family confirmed the family is seeking $55 million in compensatory and $165 million in punitive damages. 

Along with the hospital child social worker Catherine Bedy had been named as a defendant, however she has since been dropped from the case for an as yet unspecified reason. 

The hospital’s defense is expected to center on staff status as mandatory reporters required by state law to call the abuse hotline if they have ‘reasonable cause’ the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Maya Kowalski (pictured at a previous hearing) along with her family are seeking $220 million from the Florida hospital over the ordeal

Maya Kowalski (pictured at a previous hearing) along with her family are seeking $220 million from the Florida hospital over the ordeal 

The Kowalski family's harrowing situation has been covered in an explosive Netflix documentary

The Kowalski family’s harrowing situation has been covered in an explosive Netflix documentary 

Ethen Shapiro, who is part of the hospital’s defense team, previously stated that the decision to remove Maya was made by the child welfare system rather than the medical facility. 

The hospital released a statement to DailyMail.com which read: ‘Our priority at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital is always the safety and privacy of our patients and their families.

‘Therefore, we follow strict federal privacy laws that limit the amount of information we can release regarding any particular case.

‘Our first responsibility is always to the child brought to us for care. Our staff are required by law to notify Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) if they suspect abuse or neglect.

‘It is DCF and a judge – not Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital – that investigates the situation and makes the ultimate decision about what course of action is in the best interest of the child.

‘We are determined to prevent any chilling effect on the obligation to report suspected child abuse in order to protect the most vulnerable among us.’



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