The father of teenager Maya Kowalski, who was separated from her family and held in a Florida hospital as a child, has given emotional testimony about his daughter’s condition at the time she was held.
Jack Kowalski appeared in a $220 million lawsuit against Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital to tell the court how his daughter’s chronic illness meant she “screamed in pain” while showering.
Maya, 17, suffered from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and was being treated in hospital for the painful illness, when doctors accused her parents of faking her symptoms.
She was removed by the state and was not allowed to see her family for almost three months. During this time, her mother Beata Kowalski fell into a deep depression and ultimately took her own life before she could ever see her daughter again.
The family’s heartbreaking story is the focus of an explosive Netflix documentary called “Take Care of Maya,” as well as the multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the hospital last month.
Jack Kowalski told the court that his daughter’s condition was so real that she “screamed in pain” while showering when 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: ‘When she took a shower, the water droplets would make her scream. “If you put a sheet over her legs, she would scream.”
The father described how his daughter’s body “deteriorated.”
He said: ‘You know your child. Your child is not going to fake this and play outside with my friends and just sit and watch your body deteriorate; moreover, you do not cause any lesions on your body yourself.’
He also emphasized that he and his nurse wife had only their daughter’s best interests in mind.
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 doctors became suspicious of her mother’s insistence on prescribing ketamine to treat her chronic pain.
The Florida Department of Children and Families and a state judge supported hospital staff’s suspicions of “medical child abuse” and placed Maya under the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families and she was housed at the center.
Maya Kowalski (pictured left) was held in a Florida hospital after staff suspected her mother Beata (center) was faking symptoms of her chronic pain condition
Maya’s mother, Beata, (right) took her own life after being diagnosed with depressive mood and adjustment disorder after being separated from Maya for almost three months
But Kowalski told the court that the family had been informed that the drug was safe by Dr. Anthony Kirkpatrick, who prescribed the treatment and that Maya had gotten better after taking it.
He said: ‘He explained the procedure, he said it’s been around for a long time, he said it’s used for many things and it’s safe. The side effect when they come out is a brief hallucination, but then everything is back to normal.”
Kowalski testified as part of a civil lawsuit against the hospital underway in Venice, Florida.
As part of the lawsuit, the family alleges that Maya was videotaped for 48 hours and on another occasion was stripped to her underwear and photographed with the permission of a guardian or the dependency court.
AndersonGlenn LLP, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Kowalski family, confirmed that the family is seeking $55 million in compensatory damages and $165 million in punitive damages.
Along with the hospital’s children’s social worker, Catherine Bedy was named as a defendant, but she has since been dropped from the case for an unspecified reason.
The hospital’s defense is expected to focus on the status of its staff because journalists are required by state law to call the abuse hotline if they have “reasonable cause,” the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Maya Kowalski (pictured at an earlier hearing) and her family are demanding $220 million from the Florida hospital over the ordeal
The harrowing situation of the Kowalski family has been captured 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 and not the medical facility.
The hospital released a statement to DailyMail.com saying, “Our priority at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital is always the safety and privacy of our patients and their families.
“That’s why we follow strict federal privacy laws that limit the amount of information we can release about a specific case.
‘Our first responsibility is always to the child in our care. Our employees 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 – who investigates the situation and makes the final decision on what course of action is in the best interest of the child.
‘We are determined to avoid any chilling effect on reporting requirements for suspected child abuse, to protect the most vulnerable among us.’