Discover more from The Stark Naked Brief.
Meet The "Medically Kidnapped" Teenager Who Brought A Tyrannical Healthcare System To Its Knees
The story of Maya Kowalski and how it might help Covid treatment victims
Sorry folks, I accidentally hit scheduled publish on this piece yesterday morning while ever so slightly hungover... and when I say slightly, I mean very. So you received a draft and a messy one at that. Here is the finished article:
Days ago, a Floridian jury ruled in favour of the surviving family members of a wife and mother who took her own life after her daughter, Maya, was “medically kidnapped” for nearly 90 days.
The six-person jury in Sarasota County unanimously determined Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg was liable for the incidents leading up to the January 2017 death of Beata Kowalski, 43.
They also ruled that the hospital should pay the Kowalski family well over $210 million for the losses they endured, which included punitive damages.
The Kowalski’s story is one of torment, heartache, and anguish.
In fact, it is the sort of story that would make the most limp-wristed of us metamorphose into an angry cage fighter that looks like they’ve snorted a cubic tonne of cocaine before stepping into the octagon. You want blood after hearing it.
Netflix made a near two-hour documentary on their case, ‘Taking Care of Maya’, which I highly recommend watching.
To recap the bare bones, in 2015, 10-year-Maya began experiencing some nasty symptoms. These included breathing problems, headaches, blurred vision, skin lesions, lower limb dystonia, and debilitating chronic pain. And they would come on arbitrarily. So her parents, Jack and Beata, naturally sought medical advice.
But it was to no avail. They saw dozens of medical experts and they still didn’t know what was wrong with their daughter. That was until they visited one Dr. Anthony Kirkpatrick in September 2015, who diagnosed Maya with advanced complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).
CRPS is a form of amplified musculoskeletal pain syndrome in which pain from a physical interaction outlasts the expected recovery time. For example, a gentle touch can mimic a slap - a flick, a punch.
Fortunately for Jack and Beata, Dr Kirkpatrick encountered the syndrome before in past patients. He had a treatment protocol in mind using ketamine, but - and herein lies the beginning of the problem - it was not conventional or well-known. Nor was the prescribed treatment available in Florida, where the Kowalski family lived.
Low doses of ketamine kept proving ineffective and so the family travelled to Mexico so Maya could undergo a ketamine coma, fearing her symptoms would worsen and become fatal. Thankfully, the procedure was successful. Her symptoms dissipated.
Except, one random night in October 2016, they returned - with vengeance. Her father rushes her to the local hospital, Johns Hopkins All Children's, admits her, and tries to explain the rare syndrome to the staff. But they were mystified. They hadn’t come across the condition and even became suspicious of its existence. Beata told the hospital staff what treatment was required, but as soon as they learnt of the amount of Ketamine she had been taking, it was too late.
The next thing they know, a child abuse paediatrician, Dr Sally Smith, turns up unidentified to Maya’s bedside for an assessment. Within ten minutes, Smith concludes Beata has been abusing Maya, and that CRPS is not present. A nurse then informs Jack that his daughter is now in state custody and orders him to leave. Maya has been diagnosed with Munchausen syndrome by proxy, the fancy phrase for “medical child abuse”.
What transpires over the next 3 months is nothing short of parental hell. Maya was still separated from her family. Her father was allowed to see her now and again because he adopted the role of pacifier, but her mother, Beata, who’d actively argued with hospital staff, was not.
Beata descended into a pit of depression. During rare scheduled calls with Maya, she discovered her symptoms were deteriorating and that the hospital had changed her treatment without her consent. Allegations also surfaced that a contracted social worker had stripped her daughter down to a sports bra against her will in order to take pictures of her body. This, again, occurred without Beata and Jack’s consent.
The same social worker, Catherine Bedy, Maya accused of telling her she was “going to go into a foster home”, her mother “was in a mental institution”, and she was “going to end up adopting” her.
On January 8, 2017, after 87 days without her daughter, believing she is the primary reason for Maya's separation, Beata commits suicide. She hangs herself in the garage at home while Jack and her son Kyle attend a party. Jack didn’t discover her body until her brother had read Beata’s suicide note and rushed over to the home. When Jack woke up to Beata’s brother’s piercing screams, he knew his wife had taken her own life.
In the fallout of Maya’s medical kidnapping, the Kowalski’s lawyer, Debra Salisbury, discovered Dr Smith works for the Suncoast Center, which provides child welfare services to Pinellas County. Salisbury also finds out that children in Pinellas County, where the hospital is based, are almost two and a half times as likely to be removed from their families when compared to the Florida average. Suspicions arise Suncoast has incentivised its employees to misdiagnose children so their customer base could increase.
Retrospective analysis of Maya’s diagnosis would support this theory. After Beata’s suicide, Dr Kirkpatrick, the doctor who initially prescribed the Ketamine, testifies that he informed Dr Smith of Maya’s rare condition and offered to send her all the documented evidence to support his prescription when she contacted him to file her original report. The only thing is, she didn’t include any details of their discussion in that report. The medical expertise of the doctor who’d provided the most materially effective treatment was totally excluded.
Weeks later, local investigative reporter Daphne Chen hears of Beata’s passing. Like any good journalist seeking truth, she refuses to accept the “official story” - “official narrative” connotations intended - and digs in. In January 2019, when her fingertip presses publish on a write up about the Kowlaski’s, something unexpected occurs. Calls start flying in.
Chen becomes inundated with calls and emails from local parents, alleging the misdiagnosis of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Instances where parents called 911 because their child was experiencing a life-threatening emergency - seizures, breathing difficulty, excess vomiting - were resulting in the same outcome. After their child underwent a series of tests and scans, hospital staff would question parents over the injuries and symptoms and issue a case review. And curiously, the one thing they all had in common - you guessed it - was an assessment from Dr. Smith. Post-Smith assessment, these parents found themselves legally segregated from their child, with some being arrested. They did what the system told them to do, sought help, but were instead, punished.
Upon further investigation, Salisbury, the Kowalski’s lawyer, found that the root cause was less to do with a rogue clinician than it was a deep fault in the system. In the 1970s, child protective services in the U.S. diagnosed child abuse via excess corporeal punishment. We’re talking overt physical abuse - beatings, cigarette burns, etc. But overtime, they redefined the criteria. Fast forward to the 2020s, parents with children suffering from rare conditions that consult with over 3 or 4 doctors can find themselves accused of “doctor-shopping”, exposing a child to unnecessary medical procedures and thus, being guilty of medical child abuse.
In a recent interview with The Epoch Times, investigative journalist Stellar Paul explained how similar circumstances led to the mistreatment of hospitalised Covid patients. Like Maya, these patients were attacked by a system that continually found itself departing from traditional medical ethics and toward a form of blanket-style healthcare. In turn, personalised treatment and attention were subverted. The medical complex treated them en masse, rather than as individuals with unique health needs.
Take the story of Ray Lamar, who, when hospitalised with Covid, specifically requested he not receive certain treatments. He even wrote on his inner forearm, “no vent. (ventilator) no Remdesivir”. So what did his “carers” do? They gave him Remdesivir, without informing him of dangers, without receiving his consent. He later died.
Then, there is Christine Johnson. Christine’s daughter was a nurse, so she was aware of Remdesivir’s questionable benefit-to-risk ratio and the detrimental impact it could have on her kidneys. She also said she didn’t want the drug. So hospital staff gave it to her while she slept. She also died.
These stories go on and on.
Why did hospitals treat patients in this way? Well, again, as Stellar explains, it is because, whether by policy or practice, external forces adulterated the structure of the system. For Ray and Christine, it was the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) and the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedeness Act (PREP). One financially incentivised the use of dangerous treatments while the other legally shielded hospitals that administered them. For Maya, it was the empowerment of Dr Sally Smith and the dilution of the definition of “child abuse”.
The court proceedings for the Kowalski’s were not straightforward. There were various lengthy delays, and they wondered if they would ever see justice. To give you an idea of how vicious the hospital’s lawyers were, when Maya missed just one hearing, they combed through her social media and presented photos to the jury of her attending her homecoming. This, they argued, was proof that Maya could live a “normal teenager’s life”. Talk about vipers.
However, thanks to Beata’s meticulous note-taking of events without which the family’s lawyer said prosecution would have not been possible, the Kowlaski family successfully sued the hospital on multiple claims of false imprisonment, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, medical negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligent training of doctors and healthcare providers, and fraud.
There are numerous parallels we could draw from Maya’s story and 2020 Covid treatment victims but if there is one overarching precedent set, it is how the mutated structure of the medical complex has facilitated anti-healthcare. And it is one that could help dozens upon dozens of Covid treatment victims currently fighting their battles in court as well as other victims of the misdiagnosis of medical child abuse.
Perhaps the saddest realisation after researching this case is that had Beata not taken her own life, it is unlikely we would have heard about Maya’s ordeal. May she rest in peace.
If you like The Stark Naked Brief and want to see more - including past investigations, reports, and research - paid subscriptions work out to about £3 per month. With your help, I’m moving closer to achieving my goal of becoming a full-time citizen journalist. Your support is invaluable in making this happen.