Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Baby Joseph, Focus of Pro-Life Battle, Dies

Written by 

Joseph Maraachli, the baby whose parents fought doctors and a Canadian court in order to secure surgery to extend their son's life, has died. The 20-month-old infant, who suffered from a rare and deadly medical condition, passed away September 27, nearly eight months after Canadian doctors decided to remove him from life support rather than perform a surgery that would extend his life, calling it medically unnecessary. His parents fought the doctors’ decision, as well as a Canadian court, eventually taking Joseph to the U.S. for the procedure that would give him several more months with his family.

Moe Maraachli, Joseph’s father, made the announcement of his son’s passing on the family’s Facebook page, writing that “Joseph pass away very comfortable and peace fully like what i ask for him.” He added: “I would like to thank all who contributed to the support of Joseph. I thank you very much.”

Baby Joseph’s story began last February, recalled LifeSiteNews.com, “when the Ontario Superior Court rejected an appeal by his parents to bring him home where he could die under their care. He had been previously diagnosed with severe neurological issues, for which doctors said there was no hope of recovery.” The parents had asked for a simple procedure, called a tracheostomy, which would allow Joseph to breathe on his own and go home with his family. But with a court order in hand, “doctors immediately scheduled the removal of Baby Joseph’s life support, meaning almost certain death for the young child,” LifeSite reported.

“Monday at 10 a.m. they will kill my baby,” Moe Maraachli told LifeSiteNews after the court ruling. “There’s no more humanity. There’s no more chance. I’ve tried everything for him. No more appeals, nothing.”

But then pro-life forces moved into action, with Alex Schadenberg of the Canada-based Euthanasia Prevention Coalition helping block the doctors from removing Joseph’s life support at the last minute. “After that,” reported LifeSiteNews, “with the hospital continuing to try to secure legal permission to take Baby Joseph off life support, Fr. Frank Pavone and Priests for Life stepped in. They arranged for Baby Joseph to be flown to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in Missouri for a tracheostomy, and offered to foot the bill for Joseph’s considerable healthcare costs.”

With that aid, in addition to the prayers of thousands of supporters worldwide, Baby Joseph Maraachli was able to enjoy several more months of life with his family before passing. Schadenberg and Pavone reflected on Joseph’s short but impacting life.

“Joseph Maraachli lived a life that changed Canada,” noted Schadenberg, adding that “he died with his family, exactly as they wanted. He went home, lived, breathed on his own, and was cared for by his family. All the things they wanted to do.” He told LifeSiteNews that Joseph’s story is “a challenge to other families that they can do the same. We should encourage them to do the same. They’re going to be feeling the same pressure by the system.”

Father Pavone said in a statement that both the child and his parents “fulfilled a special mission from God. Amidst a Culture of Death where despair leads us to dispose of the vulnerable, they upheld a Culture of Life where hope leads us to welcome and care for the vulnerable.”

Recalled the pro-life priest: “From my first conversation with Baby Joseph’s parents, they expressed to me their trust in God. They had no demands of Him regarding how long their son would live. They just wanted to fulfill their calling to love their child unconditionally and to protect him from those who considered his life worthless.”

Photo: "Save Baby Joseph" Facebook page