Pro-Life Priest Offers to Pay for Baby Joseph’s Surgery

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 25, 2011   |   7:52PM   |   London, Ontario

An American Catholic priest who heads a pro-life group has offered to pay for all of the costs associated with getting 13-month-old Joseph Maraachli from Canada to the United States for surgery so he can go home to be with his parents.

Baby Jospeh is the subject of controversy as his parents are fighting a hospital that wants to remove his breathing tube.

Doctors at Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario, who have been treating the boy for a fatal degenerative disorder, want to remove the breathing tube that is keeping him alive. His parents, Moe Maraachli and Sana Nader, are fully aware that their son will not recover, but they want doctors to fit Joseph with a tracheotomy so they can bring him home as they did eight years ago with their baby daughter Zina, who had a similar condition and died six months after they brought her home.

Instead of doing the tracheotomy, the doctors asked Ontario’s Consent and Capacity board for permission to remove the breathing tube. A judge last week agreed with the doctors’ position.

Father Frank Pavone, who became known as the “Terri Schiavo Priest” for his role in trying to save the life of a Florida woman in 2005, has joined the fight to save Baby Joseph. Terri’s family is already involved.

“If I have to fly from Rome to Canada to get Baby Joseph out of the hospital and back home where he belongs, I am ready to do that right now,” said Father Pavone, who has been attending meetings at the Vatican this week.

Pavone told that Priests for Life would pay all expenses to bring Baby Joseph and his family to a hospital in the United States that would agree to perform the tracheotomy that would make it possible for him to go home.

“The parents of this precious boy are asking only to be allowed to bring Baby Joseph  home, where he can die surrounded by those who love him,” said Father Pavone, director of the group. “It’s beyond imagination that they would have to ask. This is not an issue that belongs in the court, or in the hands of his doctors. This is their son; he needs to be home with his family.

Pavone continued, “This couple lost a child to this same disease eight years ago so they know exactly what they are dealing with, and what to expect as Baby Joseph reaches the end of his life. The small comfort they could take from Zina’s death was to know she died in peace surrounded by those whose lives she had touched in her own short life. They want the same for Baby Joseph.”

Pavone was with Terri Schiavo’s parents, brother and sister in her hospital room in the hours before the disabled woman died in 2005, two weeks after a court declared she could be denied food and water to bring on her death. Like the Maraachli family, the Schindlers wanted to bring Terri home.

“This same barbaric act is what the Canadian court is asking Baby Joseph’s family to endure,” Father Pavone said. “It is cruel, it is criminal and it cannot be allowed to happen again.”