- Dr. Anthony Kirkpatrick told the court that Kowalski, 17, was suffering from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.
- He said she relied on the anesthetic Ketamine to be able to perform basic tasks.
- He testified in the Kowalski family’s lawsuit against Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital in Florida
The doctor who prescribed ketamine treatments for Maya Kowalski says the teenager at the center of Netflix’s ‘Take Care of Maya’ would have suffered a ‘slow, painful death’ without them.
Dr. Anthony Kirkpatrick testified that Kowalski, 17, needed treatment to be able to do basic things like feed herself and comb her hair because she was suffering from complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).
He appeared in court in a $220 million lawsuit against Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital on Tuesday amid a legal battle brought by the teen’s family after she was removed from her care. they were children and were detained at this facility.
Kowalski was detained by the state for three months at the age of 10, after doctors at a Florida hospital began to suspect her parents were faking the symptoms of her debilitating condition.
The Florida Department of Children and Families and a state judge also supported suspicions of ‘child medical abuse’ and ordered the girl to be placed in a center.
During this time, her mother, Beata, took her own life amid the grief of being separated from her daughter.
Dr. Kirkpatrick was the first to diagnose Kowalski’s CRPS. He told the court: ‘A light touch, blowing on the skin, is considered painful. She had that. She had a bad case of it.”
He initially prescribed low-dose ketamine painkillers and Kowalski reportedly responded, but he quickly decided they weren’t enough.
He then recommended increasing the dosage and undergoing intensive ‘ketamine coma’ treatment in Mexico, which he said he had discussed with the hospital.
Dr Kirkpatrick told the court: ‘I stress that if she had not received ketamine, it would have been a slow and painful death.’
The family decided to continue with therapy, which Kirkpatrick said was successful.
He added: ‘She can take care of herself, comb her hair, brush her teeth, eat with her hands, etc.’
Kowalski’s family is hoping the doctor’s testimony will convince the jury that the young girl was in fact suffering from CRPS, something hospital staff first began to suspect when she was admitted in 2016.
They questioned how Kowalski’s mother specifically insisted that her daughter prescribe ketamine treatment and began to suspect that she might have Munchausen Syndrome by proxy, a psychiatric condition reasons that caregivers desire medical care for their guardians.
It was previously reported that Kowalski’s mother ordered her daughter to take a 1,500 mg dose of ketamine.
Typically, the standard anesthetic dose in a clinical setting is less than 10 mg, according to addiction treatment center The Recovery Village Ridgefield.
According to the Florida Department of Healthcare Pain Management, while treating acute CRPS is typically treated with 1 mg of ketamine per kilogram of body weight per hour.
At an earlier hearing, the hospital’s attorney emphasized the potential risks of ketamine treatment and questioned the family’s eagerness to pursue it.
JCACH attorney Ethen Shapiro asked the teen’s father, Jack Kowalski, if he had been told that coma therapy carried a 50 percent risk of death.
The father replied that ‘every procedure has risks’.
But Shapiro pressed further, saying: ‘I understand that Mr. Kowalski but respectfully there is a risk and then there is that risk of a coin toss that your daughter could overcome. Did you know that’s 50%?”
The father replied that he knew but was informed that no one had ever died from the procedure.
Kirkpatrick also testified that Kowalski and her mother loved each other.
He said: ‘She loves her baby, and you know what? The child loves his mother.”
Kowalski earlier emotionally recounted the last time she saw her mother in court.
She said she was lying in bed when his mother came to get his things and said ‘I love you and I’ll see you tomorrow,’ but fighting back tears, she added, ‘and you never Now I’ll see you again, Mom.’
The girl also wore a special necklace that she bought for her mother while she was in the hospital.
She said: ‘I later discovered that she wore it every day and when she was found in the garage she was still wearing it and I now have it around my neck.’
Beata Kowalski committed suicide after being separated from her daughter for 87 days.
The family’s heartbreaking story is now at the center of the explosive Netflix documentary ‘Take Care of Maya’, as well as the trial.
Their lawsuit alleges Kowalski’s condition was aggravated by the care she received at the hospital and that she was videotaped for 48 hours, and on another occasion, she was stripped to her underwear and photographed without the permission of the guardian or dependency court.
AndersonGlenn LLP, who brought 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.
The hospital’s defense is expected to focus on the status of employees as mandatory reporters required by state law to call an abuse hotline if they have ‘good reasons’.
Shapiro previously stated that the decision to remove Maya was made by the child welfare system, not the medical establishment.
The hospital released a statement to DailyMail.com that read: ‘Our priority at Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital has always been the safety and privacy of our patients and their families.
‘We are therefore subject to strict federal privacy laws that limit the amount of information we can disclose about any particular case.
‘Our first responsibility is always to the child in our care. Our staff are required by law to notify the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) if they suspect abuse or neglect.
‘It is DCF and a judge, not Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital, who will investigate the situation and make the final decision on the course of action that is in the best interest of the child.
‘We are determined to prevent any impact on our duty to report suspected child abuse in order to protect the most vulnerable among us.’
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