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Take Care of Maya

DOCUMENTARY | A tragic tale of false accusations and “medical abduction”


Netflix

<em>Take Care of Maya</em>
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➤ Rated TV-14; strong language
➤ Netflix

Don’t look for a happy ending—or much of anything hopeful in Netflix’s new documentary Take Care of Maya. When a ­hospital system wrongly asserts a girl’s medical problems are due to parental abuse, and state authorities act on the allegation, tragedy lurks like a malignant cancer.

Specialists had diagnosed 10-year-old Maya Kowalski with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), an illness that primarily strikes young girls. Maya’s treatments, involving high doses of ketamine, had proved helpful, but one night she relapsed. Her parents, Jack and Beata, drove her to the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital emergency room in St. Petersburg, Fla. That’s when Maya’s hardships metastasized into a family’s nightmare.

The hospital suspected child abuse based on questionable evaluations. Courts awarded the state custody of Maya, who remained hospitalized for months. Jack gained limited visits, but courts denied Beata all physical contact with her daughter. Beata, a nurse, had long advocated for her daughter’s welfare, but medical staff viewed Beata’s vigilance as attempts to solicit harmful medication for her daughter by phone.

The film plays dozens of her video and phone recordings, as well as clips of legal depositions of family members and medical personnel taken four years after what Maya calls the “medical abduction.” Viewers will start wondering why Beata appears only in her recordings, not in the depositions. The heart-rending answer comes with little surprise when authorities have battered a mother with false accusations.

Actual abuse cases abound, sadly, but Maya’s story will add to fears about government usurpation of parents’ rights.


Bob Brown

Bob is a movie reviewer for WORLD. He is a World Journalism Institute graduate and works as a math professor. Bob resides with his wife, Lisa, and five kids in Bel Air, Md.

@RightTwoLife

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