Thirteen-month-old “Baby Joseph” Maraachli, who has been at a London, Ontario, hospital since October, has what doctors have diagnosed as a progressively deteriorating neurological condition that will eventually take his life. Since February 17, when an Ontario Superior Court rejected an appeal by his parents to allow him to receive a tracheotomy and be taken home to die, Baby Joseph has been the subject of court battles as pro-life groups have sided with parents Moe and Sana Maraachli in their efforts on behalf of their son.
Because doctors concluded that the infant is in a permanent vegetative state and has no discernable brain activity, they have adamantly refused to perform a tracheotomy, even though a sister of Baby Joseph, who had a similar condition eight years ago, was given the procedure and lived another six months at home before her death. The parents want Baby Joseph to be afforded the same respect and opportunity.
On March 4 Father Frank Pavone (photo, above), executive director of the pro-life organization Priests for Life, said that his organization was partnering with the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), the Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network, and other pro-life and pro-family organizations to try to locate a hospital in the U.S. that will agree to admit Baby Joseph and perform the tracheotomy before his Canadian physicians remove him from life support. Pavone said his group has a private jet available to transport the baby once a hospital has been located that will accept him.
The pro-life priest said that by and large U.S. hospitals “have shown compassion, but unfortunately, so far, not one has agreed to take Baby Joseph. The family is asking only to have a simple procedure performed to allow their son to breathe on his own.”
He added that “Priests for Life has hired a jet that is standing by now to fly Baby Joseph and his parents anywhere in the U.S. at a moment’s notice. We need one hospital with a sophisticated neo-natal unit and the courage to actually agree to take this child. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to explain to the public why it is that not one has committed to do this yet.”
Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, which has stepped in to provide legal counsel for the family, emphasized that “the parents desire only to receive proper family-centered care and medical attention that will allow ‘Baby Joseph’ to live out his final days at home naturally with his family.” He said his group is “working with the parents to determine the likelihood of bringing their son to the United States to receive the medical treatment he needs and deserves.”