Nobody Should Believe Me S02

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SEASON 03 | EPISODE 04

Retaliation

Note: This episode contains sensitive content related to child abuse and suicide. Listener discretion is advised.

Beata Kowalski’s tragic death by suicide in January of 2016 is at the center of the $220 million lawsuit Jack Kowalski has filed against Johns Hopkins All Childrens hospital. But did Beata really take her own life to free her daughter from the hospital keeping her captive as the plaintiff claims? As with everything in this story, the truth is much more complicated. The narrative told in the Netflix film “Take Care of Maya” is far from a complete picture of the harrowing series of events that led to Beata’s death.

In this episode we go through the police reports of the incident and various testimonies of those who were present to fill in the gaps of the days and hours leading up to Beata’s death. We also examine the final court hearing Beata attended, which gives us a glimpse into where the case stood at the time of her death.

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Show Notes

Host Andrea Dunlop:

https://www.andreadunlop.net

For behind-the-scenes photos:
https://www.instagram.com/andreadunlop/ 

Support the show and get exclusive bonus content:
https://patreon.com/NobodyShouldBelieveMe

For information and resources:
https://www.munchausensupport.com

The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children’s MBP Practice Guidelines can be downloaded here.

More about Dr. Marc Feldman:
https://munchausen.com

Transcript

[00:00:00] Nobody Should Believe Me is a production of LARJ Media. That’s L A R J Media.  

Before we begin, a quick warning that in this show we discuss child abuse and this content may be difficult for some listeners. If you or anyone you know is a victim or survivor of medical child abuse, please go to munchausensupport. com to connect with professionals who can help.  

If you would like to support the show, you can join us over on Patreon or subscribe on Apple Plus and you will get all episodes early and ad free as well as lots of exclusive bonus content. If monetary support is not an option, rating and reviewing the show is a tremendous help as well as sharing the show with friends on social media and elsewhere. 

Please be advised that today we are discussing Beata’s suicide in detail. So if this is a particularly sensitive topic for you, just know that this may be a tough listen and you will not Be lost if [00:01:00] you skip this episode and join us on the next one.  

People believe their eyes.  

That’s something that actually is so central to this whole issue and to people that experience this, is that we do believe the people that we love when they’re telling us something. If you questioned everything that everyone told you, you couldn’t make it through your day.  

I’m Andrea Dunlop. And this is Nobody Should Believe Me.  

On the last episode, we talked through the police report [00:02:00] and the interview with Jack Kowalski and Detective Stephanie Graham and got into some of the many, many questions that have come up about Maya’s health history prior to 2016. 

Today, we’ll unpack the events surrounding Beata’s death.  

One of the things that makes the Kowalski case so complicated is that the one person who knows what truly happened isn’t here to tell us. And one of the few facts that both sides of this case can agree on is that Beata died by suicide on January 8th, 2017. 

Beata’s death was absolutely devastating to her family. And again, this is something that no one disputes. But who is to blame?  

Here is some of the language from an earlier version of Jack Kowalski’s complaint against the hospital, DCF, [00:03:00] and Dr. Sally Smith. And for this, we had our sound engineer, Jeff Gall, read it. 

Then, on January 6th, 2017, Johns Hopkins and DCF went so far as to convince the court to prevent a supervised hug between Maya and Beata in a courtroom with a bailiff, judge, and attorneys for each side present, which directly resulted in mental anguish so severe that Beata could no longer live with the loss of her daughter. 

The complaint has since been narrowed, so it’s unclear what legal role Beata’s death will play in the proceedings, but it definitely remains at the center of the story that the plaintiff, Jack Kowalski, is telling. Here is a clip from Court TV of the opening statement for the plaintiff, delivered by Gregory Anderson, one of the Kowalski family’s attorneys. 

Maya Kowalski was falsely imprisoned. And battered. She was denied communication with her family. She was denied communication with the outside. And it was [00:04:00] certainly the apex of the Take Care of Maya film. I remember the phone call from Jack, that his wife had ended her life. I was devastated. I just could not believe what had happened. 

But I think the note that Beata left for Judge Hayworth That makes it pretty clear that she wanted her child to be free from that hospital. She was very worried about what was happening and the treatment that she was being forced to take. That was family attorney Debra Salisbury from the Netflix documentary Take Care of Maya. 

As with everything in this film, there is a lot that has been left out of the narrative of these events. And the documents that we have give us a fuller and much more complicated picture of the events that preceded Beata’s death. In the film, Jack says in a recorded interview with a police officer that [00:05:00] he was shocked by Beata’s death. 

Here is that clip from the Netflix film. Did your wife give you any indication that this would happen? No, but my daughter has an illness and it’s all started from that. Just the disease alone was horrible. The rest of this was left out of the movie, and it gives some pretty compelling context about what was happening in the days and hours before Beata’s death. 

Here is the more complete version of the conversation between Jack and the police officer who interviewed him the day that Beata’s body was found. Did your wife give you any indication that this would happen? No, but the night before I called the police because she was missing. You know, it was unusual for her to be gone. 

She said she went to CVS, or going to CVS, and she, when I was bottling wine with Kyle, and, uh, you know, I bottled all the wine, I cleaned up, and it’s like she’s [00:06:00] still not here. So I, I did call the police. It, it felt weird, and I looked in my safe. Don’t know why I did, but my handgun was missing. And then, uh, uh, she came back about 12. 

30 that night. So obviously, Jack was concerned about Beata given this series of events. Now here he is in the film talking about what happened the night of her death. That day, we were supposed to go to a neighbor’s for a birthday party, a kid’s birthday party. She goes, let me get up and wrap the present. 

I’m not gonna go, but I’m gonna sleep, I got a migraine headache. According to the police report, When Jack left the house with Kyle for the birthday party, Beata was FaceTiming with Maya. We also know from Beata’s emails that she’d had a back and forth with the social workers this day about setting up this call with her daughter. 

Kyle and I went to that party and when we came home [00:07:00] her bedroom door was shut. We thought she was asleep. So we decided to sit down, watch some TV. So just to clarify here, Beata had been sleeping in her son Kyle’s room. So this is the door that was closed when they arrived home. And Kyle reportedly fell asleep on the couch and spent the night there. 

No one checked on Beata after they arrived home. This detail seemed a little off to me, especially given what had happened the previous evening, and Detective Mike Weber agreed with this. Well, yeah, it definitely strikes me that they came home and no one was concerned about where she was, right? They come home that evening and no one’s concerned about where she is after what had happened the previous evening. 

And to me, that is concerning. Why, obviously, I think that speaks to a breakdown in the relationship at that point in time. It came out in Jack [00:08:00] Kowalski’s testimony this week that he and Beata had actually officially filed for separation at this time and Beata was preparing to move out. I believe this was on the advice of their attorneys. 

So, according to the police report, at around 12 30 a. m on January 8th, Beata’s brother, Piotr, arrived at their house. Just a note here, I am using the name Piotr because that is what is in the official documents. Jack refers to him as Peter. We are talking about the same person. So, Jack had called Beata’s brother and sister after the court hearing and told them that she was very distraught and so both of them were heading down from Chicago to be with her. 

So Piotr told the police that Jack answered the door when he arrived but that the two didn’t really talk at all and Jack just went back to his bedroom and went back to sleep. So he saw nine year old Kyle was sleeping on the couch. [00:09:00] And Pyotr went over, woke him up, and asked him where his mom was. Kyle replied that she was in his room where she’d been sleeping. 

Pyotr, who presumably was exhausted from this long trip, first went to Maya’s room to possibly crash there, but he saw that there was a bunch of stuff on her bed. So then he went and tried Kyle’s room instead. And he told the police there was no one there, so he slept in Kyle’s bed. But Kyle had just told him that that’s where Beata was sleeping. 

Now, I want to put the caveat here that this is the middle of the night when this happens. And honestly, I’ve read through a lot of police reports at this point, and there’s always a bit of a game of telephone that goes on. I just can’t help but wonder, reading this account, where did they think Beata was? 

And it wasn’t until the next morning. that they found her when Piotr went to put something in the extra fridge in the garage. This whole scene is just [00:10:00] so horrible to think through and it’s just really tragic. So before I go on, I just want to tell you that what we’re going to cover here is pretty difficult to hear and this, these are parts of the story that were not covered in the documentary. 

Here is a very brief clip of the 9 1 1 call that was played in the film and was played in the opening statements of the current trial. 9 1 1, tell me exactly what happened. 

Here I am talking to our Florida doctor friend about some of the strange details around this scene. The whole setting just was described very different in the police report that she was there and she had the belt around her neck, but she also was attached to an IV in her arm, attached to an IV bag of [00:11:00] some type of clear fluid, and that Nearby was her cell phone that had a note on it that said, Retaliation, and then it comes later that now in all this documentation I’ve since read that, Nobody ever tested the bag of fluids. 

So the fluids were never tested. They aren’t in evidence. Whatever this that she was attached to, we cannot test. And then they did a very basic toxicology screen on Beata and it was negative. So now it appears from these documents that There was a lot of paraphernalia around, some of it was labeled, some of it was not. 

So we do not know for sure what was in that bag. But an interesting detail is that Beata had filled a prescription for liquid ketamine and this was 22 days into Maya’s hospitalization. And there were several other mysterious prescriptions that Beata filled using the name of someone called Dr. Barr, who testified under oath that he did not have any [00:12:00] record or recollection of prescribing them and that in the instance of one drug it was not even in the scope of his practice to prescribe it. 

Our doctor friend agreed that it was really hard to know exactly what to make of this bizarre scene. There have been multiple motions since then in the public record of them attempting to get further toxicology because the question was, again, cause of death was it possible that there was something else in the IV bag or that there’s a whole nother piece to this. 

It does not sound to be as clear cut or as exactly as it was described. It just seems like things were omitted that do change the narrative a little bit. So, keep in mind as you’re hearing this that this is an expert that was called by the defense. And we are going to get a bit deeper into the many experts that have been brought by both sides that have given depositions and provided affidavits. 

So this is from a Dr. Elliot J. Crane. He is at the [00:13:00] Stanford Center for Academic Medicine. He is professor and chief of pain management in pediatric anesthesiology. And he had done an extremely thorough review of many of Maya’s medical records. So this section of his report is Really pretty graphic and disturbing, so I’m gonna paraphrase a lot of it. 

But here is the beginning of what he had to say. We used AI for this reading. That Maya’s mother ended her life is a tragic twist of events that may have derived from the reporting, but that, too, does not make the act of reporting malpractice and certainly not inappropriate. On the contrary, the suicide in these circumstances points further to a profound mental health disorder in the child’s mother. 

This doctor feels that the manner in which she was discovered make death by hanging extremely improbable. And he also mentions this IV drip that was attached to her arm. [00:14:00] And… Believed that that pointed to death by a lethal dose of a substance, in his opinion possibly ketamine. And that this scene of the hanging had actually been staged. 

And he mentions these details because he felt that these observations led further weight to the idea that Beata was fabricating. that she was fabricating the scene of her death and that she was fabricating Maya’s illnesses. So his closing line of this section is the suspicion of medical child abuse seems even more correct given these grisly observations. 

Here again is our Florida doctor friend. I think it just speaks to how much this movie can take an event that is so traumatic for everybody watching it, but looked at the way the movie portrays versus what I can find in this documentation of people that were actually there. [00:15:00] People that actually saw the photos. 

It does tell a very different story and that’s. It’s just concerning or frustrating that, that it can be so different. Yeah, it really flattens the narrative, I think, and this is sort of another instance of that and it flattens it into something where there are villains and the villains are the doctors. 

And there are a few more unusual details about this. So, the timing of Beata’s death coincided not only with her brother and sister flying in to see her from Chicago, but strangely enough, it was also Jack’s brother Rob’s birthday. Rob lived across the street from Jack, and he testified on the stand last week about waking up to find his brother’s house surrounded by emergency vehicles. 

The account of this day is incredibly harrowing. Here’s Rob on Court TV. January 8th, 2017. Does that date have any significance to you? [00:16:00] Yeah, it’s my 50th birthday. Can you describe how you woke up that morning? Jack, Jack called me and said, Beata just hung herself and, uh, you need to get over here right away. 

Did you, did you rush over? Yes, immediately. I told my wife, Beata hung herself. I’m going to Jackson. I took off across the street. We can never truly know what was in Beata’s mind when she died, but she did leave a couple of notes. Now, in the film, they do show a part of one of her notes, and this is where the title comes from, Take Care of Maya. 

That’s something that Beata wrote in one of her notes. Another of the notes was the scathing letter to the judge, which they do mention in the movie. And they sort of picked out the pieces of these letters that really, in my [00:17:00] opinion, served the narrative of this death happened because of the judge and because of the doctors and that they’re responsible for it, right? 

So they do not mention the cell phone that was discovered with the post it on it that said retaliation, which I think is a notable omission. And they also omitted the second half of the sentence that started with take care of Maya. And I noticed this when they put it on screen, that they actually blurred this part out. 

So not only do they not mention it, but… They intentionally obscure it. So, in this note, Beata actually says, take care of Maya, but do not let her suffer. No child deserves that. And to me, this coupled with the comments about her death, the comments about hospice, and trying to label her as terminal, was really chilling. 

So, here I am talking with Detective Mike about this letter. I think that’s more of a message to Maya than it is to Jack. [00:18:00] And what do you think the message is to Maya? I think the message is to Maya that you’re, that you’re sick. Remember you’re sick. And this is something that is part of many cases that we’ve both seen. 

Yeah, and, and especially in Alyssa’s case, right? So, we’ve seen in other cases, let’s look at, um, the Brittany Phillips case, you know, with her sending pictures. Home with the foster mom of Alyssa still in leg braces, uh, the movie Tangled, you know, the psychological manipulation of these victims by these offenders is ongoing and especially with a child Maya’s age, it has to happen, right? 

that she has to have that psychological control. Otherwise, a 10 year old is going to say, I’m fine, right? Right. And that it’s so deep and pervasive. And, yeah, I mean, and it’s watching these offenders sort of justify, Oh, I thought that I, that’s what I had [00:19:00] to do to get her the help she needed. I mean, that’s something that Hope Ybarra said to us, but I mean, I think it’s also just this one thing that we do know about offenders and, you know, again, we will never know without access to, I mean, because the investigation wasn’t completed, we’ll never know if Beata was or not, but one thing we do know is that they will stick to their story. 

You know, regardless of what evidence there is. And so that also kind of like, yeah, sending that message to Maya or just like really making her sort of final case of like, this is a terminally ill child. Like I’m telling you all this is a terminally ill child. Which no one had told her that she had made that determination on her own. 

The other thing that really stuck out to me about that note is that she attempts to leave custody of her children to her brother and sister, not to Jack. And so it just, it seems like that whole picture of her death and the way it happened and the notes that she left after really point to quite a lot more discord than Jack is [00:20:00] sort of now casting it as, and that this film casts it as. 

I wanted to read a little bit of the end of Beata’s note to Judge Hayworth because I thought this was pretty interesting given the context of the current lawsuit. So, Beata ends her note to the judge. by saying, I hope that in the end you will make sure that ACH and the state will generously reimburse my family so my family will have a chance to make my Maya healthier again and better again since you have completely bled us out of money and pretty soon there will only be one income coming in to support my family and pay the attorneys. 

She then ends the email by saying, I hope that you will make sure that Dr. Malik at ACH ICU and Sally Smith will lose their medical licenses and never hurt another child again. So when you look at the timing of the emails, the first one was a note that she emailed to herself at 10 59 p. m. and then the [00:21:00] email to Beata’s attorney which she wanted her to forward to the lawyer was 11 12 p. 

  1. So According to the timeline from what we have from Jack and Piotr’s reports to the police the next day, this would have been after Jack and Kyle returned home at about 9 30 p. m. and shortly before Piotr arrived somewhere between 12 30 and 1 a. m. So based on this timeline I just have some questions about what happened here.

There was obviously a period of time when They were all in the house together, and I just wonder why no one checked on her, and I can’t understand why Piotr, who’d come all the way down there because he was so worried about her, didn’t wonder where she was when Kyle had just told her that she was in his [00:22:00] bedroom, and then he went in the bedroom, and the bedroom was empty. 

I’m not blaming anyone. I just, it’s, it’s just a really strange timeline, and I, I I don’t know what to make of it. So this series of events and these notes came up in court this week because Jack Kowalski testified this week and it was interesting to hear him talk about the events that preceded it where she disappeared and I gather he thought she had the gun but then he later found the gun elsewhere but nonetheless he was concerned enough about her to call the police because he couldn’t find her and yet he really hedged on whether he felt that she was actually having suicidal ideations. 

And in terms of the letters, that point about her leaving custody of the children to her brother and sister in Chicago and not mentioning Jack, and she [00:23:00] doesn’t mention Jack in that letter at all, um, that was brought up and The lawyers on the Kowalski side tried to frame that as, Oh, she meant she was leaving custody to them in the event that something happened to Jack. 

But I think that’s honestly a stretch because everything that I have read and heard about Beata gives me the impression that She generally said what she meant and so I think that that is some after the fact speculation and the reality is they had filed for an official separation at that point, so yeah, so those, those pieces of testimony were interesting. 

So in the film, they talk about the hearing that happened two days before Beata’s death, with the implication that this was Beata’s breaking point. Suicide is horrific and complex. The film pulls [00:24:00] no punches about who is to blame. This is from the film, this is Jack Kowalski talking to his lawyer right after Beata was discovered. 

He’s referencing the judge who denied Beata the chance to give Maya a hug. I know this is what happened. This, I know it’s because he turned her down. That killed her. All the way home, that’s all she talked about. Now, we have the transcript of this hearing. So let’s dig into this a bit. There was a lot that was not mentioned here. 

So number one, this is one of many, many hearings that happened between the original shelter order and Beata’s death. And honestly, you can really hear the exhaustion from everyone here. Number two, there was a lot of discussion about transferring Maya to another hospital. And that had honestly been at play since early in her admission when they attempted to transfer her to Nemours, which is a nearby hospital that had a pediatric pain clinic. 

But when they [00:25:00] suggested transferring her to Nemours, Beata and Jack declined because they wanted a specific procedure done there, which was to have a clonidine pump put in Maya’s spine. And when the hospital told them that that was not what they would consider appropriate They declined having her transferred. 

To me, this could really debunk this notion that’s presented in the documentary that Johns Hopkins was trying to imprison Maya in order to punish her mother and to make money off of the insurance that they were getting while she was there. So this is from the Netflix documentary. This is Kowalski family attorney Deborah Salisbury. 

But I think the note that Beata left for Judge Hayworth. It makes it pretty clear that she wanted her child to be free from that hospital. She was very worried about what was happening and the treatment that she was being forced to take. She wanted to make [00:26:00] sure that her child got out of there and she didn’t see any other way out. 

They also really focus on the judge not letting Beata hug Maya at the hearing. It never made any sense to me why she was denied giving her child that hug. And I can tell you, as we left the courthouse that day, that Beata was devastated. Devastated. And the one thing that I know to this day is, none of us can get that hug back now. 

That hug is gone. Do you think if she had hugged her, things would have turned out differently? Yes, I do. I do. So, let’s talk about the circumstances around this hug. So, I understand this is a really gut wrenching moment to listen to. And we do need to remember the context. [00:27:00] Beata was under a no contact order, and this isn’t put in place to be cruel, it’s for the safety of the child. 

And we know from these other cases that we’ve looked at how manipulative perpetrators can be with their children. We saw that in the Brittany Phillips case. And the important thing here is that you cannot put emotional needs of a parent over the safety of a child. So we are going to talk to a legal expert in an upcoming episode about what the legal basis for blaming someone for a suicide could possibly be, but it’s definitely very central to the emotional story of the Kowalski’s case. 

As to what really led to Beata’s death, we’ll never know. And if this wasn’t part of the actual charges, I would honestly refrain from speculating, but this death is being used as some kind of evidence that Beata is innocent and was falsely accused, when in fact, suicide risk is a known part of these investigations. 

Here is a quote [00:28:00] on this topic from the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children’s Munchausen by Proxy Practice Guidelines. We used AI for this reading. The literature documents cases of maternal suicide, psychiatric decompensation, suicide attempts, flight, or child death on the eve of suicide. 

In other words, these suicide, and this is especially heightened when a big decision is made in court. And we talked to Detective Mike Weber about this. Whenever I make an arrest in one of these cases, I always put these offenders on suicide watch. Why do I do that? You have just taken their entire identity from them and you have flipped their identity and cast them in an entirely opposite identity. 

They’ve gone from being the caring hero mom now to the, as we always hear from the news media, the monster in these cases. And that is a huge psychological hit. So, Beata’s death happened several months into her separation from Maya, and the Johns [00:29:00] Hopkins records indicate that, in fact, Maya’s overall health did seem to have improved a great deal from when she had been admitted. 

So these notes come from the report of a Dr. Desai, who’s one of the doctors at Johns Hopkins who is treating her. He says that at this time, she has no evidence of asthma, no evidence of immunodeficiency, or small fiber neuropathy, which is another condition that she was alleged to have when she came in, um, and for which she was receiving an IVIG treatment. 

They had also been able to discontinue the TPN nutrition, which we talked about earlier, and that although Maya was continuing to eat less than she should, she had gained approximately 8 pounds during this time period and had been weaned off many of her medications, including Ativan and Clonidine. Also, he did say that CRPS could not be 100 percent ruled out, but that it was not likely. 

Which is in [00:30:00] alignment with what every other doctor who saw Maya before this hospitalization had said, and that includes doctors from Tampa General and Lurie Children’s Hospital, which is in the Chicago area. And honestly, we’re going to get more into what these doctors that did think she had CRPS have said during the course of this case, but There are many doctors who did not think that she had CRPS. 

Dr. Kirkpatrick, Dr. Hanna, and Maya’s pediatrician, Dr. John Wassiner, do agree that she has CRPS. We also have a bit of insight into what was going on with Maya. during this time of this final hearing before Beata’s death. One of the options that was being discussed in court was discharging Maya to be with a medical foster care family. 

So these are families with special training, like the ones that originally [00:31:00] were with Alyssa Phillips, the case we talked about last season, and have Maya seen on an outpatient basis. So, i. e. not keep her in the hospital full time. There was also some discussion of discharging her with her uncle, Jack Kowalski’s brother, and around the time of this hearing they actually did let Maya leave the hospital for a short time with her uncle to get a psych evaluation and to visit the pain specialist Dr. 

Hannah. We have admit notes from when she was brought back to the hospital after being taken to court for the hearing. So she reports to them that she had seen her parents through the car door and waved and of course that she was sad that she didn’t get to actually see them. She also reports having an appointment with Dr. 

Hanna and said that he was very angry at Johns Hopkins and said that the treatments they were giving her weren’t working. They also noted that she had abrasions on her hand and forehead and that she referred to those as what she gets from the CRPS, so i. [00:32:00] e. that these were lesions. There’s also something else that’s really notable that was happening around this time. 

So we mentioned previously that Maya had had a port put in so that she could receive ketamine infusions and that also that her mother had reported that she was giving her infusions with other drugs. at home. So during her stay at Johns Hopkins, as they were weaning her off these medications, they wanted to remove the port. 

So they still had to get approval from the parents to do these kind of procedures. And they sought out this approval with Beata and Jack and they refused to let her have her port removed though her port was eventually taken out after they left the hospital. So this along with the notes from Dr Hannah really leads me to believe that this family had every intention of putting Maya back on these high dose ketamine treatments if [00:33:00] she was released to them. 

They didn’t want the hospital to take her port out. And Dr. Hannah was saying directly to Maya that she wasn’t getting the treatment that she needed. So, I want to point out here that, you know, again, this is another instance of it could be one of two things. They’d made it really clear that they felt like this was the right course of treatment for their daughter. 

And so they genuinely might have thought it was just in her best interest to keep the port in so that she could continue the treatment they thought was most effective for her. And obviously Dr. Hannah agreed with them. However, again, she’d been going several months without these treatments. And by the objective measures recorded in the hospital, she was doing better. 

The film continues to cast the doctors as the villains by indicating that they were pretty [00:34:00] callous about Beata’s death. Here are a few of the text messages that show up on the screen. This is an exchange between Dr. Laura Voss. And Dr. Beatriz Tepe Sanchez, read by two of our producers at Large Media. 

Ketamine Girl’s mom committed suicide yesterday. Sorry to say my prediction was correct. Oh my god. This is terrible. I know we did the right thing, but this is really fucked up. I feel bad. Don’t know all the details but I think the courts and psychiatrists finally called it what it was. I had another mother do the same thing. 

Here I am talking to Detective Mike Weber about these text messages. Those texts are extremely out of context. Yes, they’re out of context and I think it’s also sort of worth mentioning that these are extremely difficult jobs and that there is a sort of, um, There’s gallows humor. Trust me, I’m a police officer. 

There’s certainly gallows humor in the job that we do. It’s how we keep our [00:35:00] sanity. It’s a coping mechanism, right? And the fact that they call her Ketamine Girl and obviously taking completely out of context. Well, there’s a reason they call her Ketamine Girl because they can’t use her name in a text message. 

HIPAA. Oh, interesting. I hadn’t even thought of that. Right? I don’t text the medical professionals, uh, about, about cases. I, I do that through, uh, secure email. Uh, you know, this is one very good reason why, uh, uh, you know, I have a county phone. My text messages are open to the public. and they can see whatever I’m texting, but even many times by email, if I’m communicating with them by an insecure email, you know, if it’s, uh, let’s say it’s a insulin poisoning case, I very well may text them, hey, insulin girl is doing, you know, this or that or another. 

That way, I don’t have to say the patient’s name. It’s not a HIPAA violation for them to respond, you know, so we can talk about the case that way because no name [00:36:00] is out in public and no one knows who we’re talking about. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And then, you know, the other thing is I feel like the film really frames these messages as, oh, these doctors are being so heartless. 

And in particular, this text message from Dr. Voss, where she says, I had another mother do this same thing. It could sound like, oh, look at these doctors just driving all these poor women to kill themselves. But what I interpret this as actually is that, as we know from the APSAC guidelines, this is a part of these cases. 

So what insights, if any, do we have into what Beata’s state of mind was at the time? There’s been a lot of back and forth about whether or not Beata had underlying mental health issues that could have contributed either to the alleged abuse or that could have led to her death. And it’s [00:37:00] worth saying that there are no straight lines here. 

However, despite Dr. Duncan’s insistence in her evaluation of Beata that she had no previous mental health issues, she was taking a number of medications that could indicate otherwise, and we talked to our Florida doctor friend about this. Yes, so one of the parts of the public record is actually her, um, I think it’s Beata’s actual psych assessment. 

This is at least the documentation that’s there is that she’s never had a diagnosis of a mental health condition and she denies ever being on, I think, medication for any mental health condition. And whereas, as I know in this, in medicine, there are certain medicines that do multiple things or have kind of multiple roles. 

The medications that then she lists in her medication list are Celexa, which is Citalopram, which is an SSRI or antidepressant, and then Ambien for sleep, and then Alprazolam as needed. And Alprazolam again is one of those benzodiazepines that we use for both anxiety and sleep. And I think it was as [00:38:00] needed every eight hours, which is. 

more what we would use for an anxiety component as opposed to if it was at night as needed, then you would maybe consider it more as a sleep medication. So I just found it interesting that at least in my experience, and I don’t do adult medicine, but Celexa is an antidepressant. There are not any at least off label uses I know it to be used for that she could have been on it for another reason. 

And I mean, was it a misunderstanding of why she was prescribed these medicines? I just find it very interesting that Two paragraphs in a psychological assessment kind of contradict each other so significantly. The narrative of the film indicates not only that Beata died to free Maya, but it also intimates that Maya was returned to Jack because Dr. 

Chopra from Brown Confirmed Maya’s CRPS diagnosis. Here is that moment from the Netflix documentary. Shortly after Beata’s death, they allowed me to take Maya to go see a specialist in [00:39:00] Rhode Island, Dr. Chopra. He did an evaluation on her, which did confirm that she does have CRPS. And he sent his report to the court. 

Not too much longer after that, Maya was released to my custody. So basically, what you would probably infer from hearing that, is that Beata died to free Maya from the hospital, who was keeping her there under false pretenses, and then she was returned to Jack Kowalski when the hospital was proven wrong by Dr. 

Chopra’s diagnosis. But as with everything in this case, the truth is a lot more complicated. So we do have a copy of the judge’s release decision and I broke it down with my producer Tina Here’s our discussion about that. So let me get this straight. This is very much like a cram junkie episode So let me get [00:40:00] this straight what you’re saying is so shortly after the suicide Maya goes back and this is four days after Okay, so 40 of the suicide, they have a hearing. 

In that hearing, they’re saying, Okay, let’s send Maya back to the dad. Let’s not let her have any more ketamine. And seems like she’s doing all right. So, So basically the big, the big takeaways are they say, Yes, you can go visit. Cause they’re putting restrictions around their medical stuff. They put restrictions on, the medical stuff all along. 

Before that she was in the, well before that she was in the hospital in shelter care. Right. So they are releasing her from shelter care in the hospital and they’re releasing her to Jack’s custody. But they are putting a bunch of restrictions around her medical treatment. So for that period, and I don’t know how long that period lasted, they would have to run every doctor’s appointment through the courts. 

And so they authorize him to take her to see Dr. Chopra. But of course, [00:41:00] in the film, listening to the clip we just listened to, you would think that it was because of Dr. Chopra’s diagnosis of CRPS that they let Maya out of the hospital. And that’s not true. They let her out before that. So, because they’re talking about that decision here. 

They also said that she could see Dr. Hanna, but she could not have any more ketamine. Wow. I think that’s pretty damning. That they, why would they not I mean So Dr. Chopra is an expert that was called by the Kowalski side. He is not an independent expert who was appointed by the court. He is someone they chose. 

And honestly, the reason, and this comes up in the hearings, like the reason they chose Dr. Chopra was because he wrote a paper about how CRPS gets mistaken for Munchausen by proxy. What do you mean, CRPS kids? Like, he [00:42:00] wrote a paper about how parents of CRPS kids are falsely accused of Munchausen by proxy. 

Oh, wow. That’s why they chose him. So he was not appointed by the court. He is not some, like, independent, neutral expert. He was chosen by the Kowalskis. And that’s fine, right? They have the right to do that. But it makes it sound in the film as though… Oh, they took them to this expert and then they figured out they had CRPS and the hospital was wrong all along and that’s when they released Maya. 

No, they released Maya because Beata was dead and because Dr. Smith, in her 45 page report, had basically sussed out that Beata was the threat and not Jack. That she did not feel like Jack independently posed a threat. So yeah, the threat was gone. That’s why they sent her home. They make it sound in the film like, okay, the issue of CRPS was then settled. 

It’s very much not settled. It’s not settled to this day. You have some doctors that are testifying that they believe Maya’s case of CRPS is legitimate. And then you have a ton of doctors, including [00:43:00] almost all of them that have treated her. I mean, importantly, you know, Dr. Chopra is an outside expert. He’s not someone who is a treating physician. 

So Dr. Hanna and Dr. Kirkpatrick. are her only treating physicians who have expertise in that area. But like, there’s a lot of doctors that evaluated her for this specific thing that did not think that her symptoms matched up with CRPS. So it’s not like Jack makes it sound like, Oh, this is settled now. Dr. 

Chopra was the final word. He’s not. He’s an expert witness for the plaintiff. Um, okay. So all of this is fascinating. So, it’s significant as I hear this, this is significant, because of the fact that right after Beata dies, it sounds to me, and maybe I’m wrong here, that they tell Jackie can’t give Maya any more ketamine. 

Yeah, correct. Oh, they do. That’s what they say in the hearing. I mean, that’s They’re like, no more ketamine and send this Absolutely fucking crazy. They say no more ketamine and send this child back to school. Because they had her out of school that [00:44:00] entire year. So it means the separation test worked. Yeah, it does. 

That’s how, that’s my interpretation of it. That this was, that this was a test to see whether or not Maya could get along without this ketamine that was undoubtedly putting her health and life at risk. And sure enough, she could. ketamine in the years since this happened. Dr. Kirkpatrick said if she’s not given this ketamine, she’ll be so immobilized that she will not be able to move her legs, she’ll develop a blood clot and that she’ll die a slow and painful death, right? 

That is what he said would happen if she wasn’t given the ketamine. But she was never given ketamine after that first, I think they gave her a little bit of ketamine when she was first in the ICU and after that she was not given any more ketamine. And she did not die a slow and painful death. She now walks, she works out four times a week. 

The thing speaks for itself at some point. Like, you can argue semantics about who did what and why, but I don’t think you can argue that this child needed high [00:45:00] dose ketamine when you have now six years of her not being on high dose ketamine. Six years plus three months she was in the hospital and didn’t have it when she had just had, quote, uh, relapse. 

Right. They claimed she had a relapse at that storm. That’s what triggered this whole thing. The storm was, that was, they brought her in for stomach pain. And she had been given high dose ketamine the day before that. So, she was probably having a stomach pain because of the ketamine and also because as they mentioned she hadn’t eaten in five days and there’s all this eating stuff. 

And she does have like a relapse at some point between this and now, but it was an eating issue. I don’t think you can say this child doesn’t have any medical complexity, but how much of that was caused by all of this versus how much existed to begin with, you know, and then there’s just a question of ketamine comas. 

And Beata gives every indication that once she got Maya back, that’s exactly what she was going to do.[00:46:00]  

So that’s what we know about Beata’s death and the circumstances under which Maya was released back to Jack’s custody. In the next episode, we are going to look at Two of the women who have played such a central role in this case and who have really been cast as two of the main villains of this story, Kathy Beatty and Dr. 

Sally Smith. That’s next time on Nobody Should Believe Me. Nobody Should Believe Me is a production of Large Media. Our senior producer is Tina Knoll and our editor is Corrine Kiltow. 

Listen to Episodes
Sisters
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Season 01 | Episode 05

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Season 01 | Episode 6

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Season 01 | Episode 07

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Season 01 | Episode 08

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Season 02 | Episode 01

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Season 02 | Episode 02

What Do We Do About Brittany?

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Season 02 | Episode 03

Where There’s Smoke

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Season 02 | Episode 04

All In

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Season 02 | Episode 05

Tangled

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Megan

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Season 02 | Episode 10

Everything Everything Everything

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Season 03 | Episode 01

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Season 03 | Episode 02

Shelter

Share this episodeSEASON 03 | EPISODE 02Shelter As the Maya Kowalski case heads to trial, we dig into the massive trove of documents about this case and begin to unpack what we know about what really happened during Maya Kowalski’s fateful stay at Johns...

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Season 03 | Episode 03

In a Heartbeat

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Season 03 | Episode 05

The Women

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Season 03 | Episode 06

The Believers Part 1

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Season 03 | Episode 07

The Believers Part 2

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Season 03 | Episode 08

Trial of the Century

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Season 03 | Episode 09

The Verdict

Share this episodeSEASON 03 | EPISODE 09The VerdictAndrea and special guest Bex (aka our Florida pediatrcian friend) process the shocking verdict in the Maya Kowalski trial. After 9 weeks of testimony, the jury awarded the Kowalski family nearly $300 million...

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Season 03 | Episode 10

The Verdict Part 2

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Season 03 | Episode 11

Star Witness

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Season 03 | Episode 12

System Override

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Season 03 | Episode 13

What Now?

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Season 03 | Episode 14

Media Circus

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Season 03 | Episode 15

The Trials of Dr. Sally Smith (Season Finale: Part 1)

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Season 03 | Episode 16

Bad Press (Season Finale: Part 2)

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Season 03 | Episode 17

Dangerous Women (Season Finale: Part 3)

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SEASON 03 | EPISODE 18

What Jack Knew

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Season 03 | Episode 19

What Happened to Beata?

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Season 03 | Episode 20

Kowalski Case Update with Ethen Shapiro

Share this episodeSEASON 03 | EPISODE 20 Kowalski Case Update with Ethen Shapiro Join Andrea as she delves back into the ongoing legal battle of Kowalski v. Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital, with Ethen Shapiro, the lead defense attorney for Johns...

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