American Hospital May Take Baby Joseph Maraachli in Transfer

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 11, 2011   |   7:18PM   |   London, Ontario

The latest news in the case of Baby Joseph Maraachli is that an American hospital reportedly has agreed to take him as a transfer so he can have a medical procedure performed so he can go home with his family.

The parents of Joseph have been waiting for a hospital to transfer their son to in order to get a tracheotomy procedure so he can go home but a leading pro-life advocate said previously that releasing medical records was holding up the process.

Baby Joseph has been at London Health Sciences Centre in London, Ontario, in October with a rare deteriorating condition that is not improving. The doctors who have cared for him want to remove his breathing tube but Moe Maraachli and Sana Nader took their battle to court to allow the tube to be removed at home, so the boy can die surrounded by his family. A Superior Court judge in London, Ontario, dismissed the request of the Canadian couple to overturn a decision requiring the removal of their baby’s breathing tube in a hospital instead of at home.

Baby Joseph’s parents want a tracheotomy performed on their son so they can take him off the respirator and bring him home to live his last days surrounded by family. The London hospital has refused to perform the procedure.

Claudio Martini, an attorney helping the parents, told the London Free Press that an unnamed hospital has agreed to take Joseph and that the transfer could be processed as early as tonight or this weekend. He told the newspaper he forwarded the appropriate papers to the hospital and he believes officials are willing to accommodate the transfer to the hospital — that is unnamed because supporters of the family don’t want a media frenzy to botch the process.

“(The American hospital) is ready, able and willing to accept Joseph,” he said.

The request to transfer was reportedly made by the chair of an American hospital’s pediatrics department and has the support of the CEO of the hospital and directors of medical ethics, pediatric critical care, and palliative care.

Leading pro-life and disability rights advocates have been helping the family to find an American hospital to transfer him to, but Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, tells that the failure by the hospital to release the records has been holding up any transfer.

“There are U.S. physicians in Michigan willing to oversee Baby Joseph’s outpatient care and assist in weaning him off the home ventilator should it be necessary,” he said earlier this month. “We have yet to find one facility that said it would not perform the tracheostomy on Baby Joseph.”

“The real problem is that health care providers in the U.S. need Baby Joseph’s medical records — but the Canadian authorities are refusing to release them,” he added. “We have recently discovered that Canadian law requires the hospital to release these records to Baby Joseph’s parents upon request. And to date, they have refused. This is what is preventing hospitals in the United States from being able to accept Baby Joseph. We need those medical records. And we need them now.”

“We are continuing our search for a hospital in the United States to take Baby Joseph, and they won’t do that without the records,” he said.

Commenting previously on the case in general, Pavone added that Joseph “could die in the next couple of weeks if his breathing tube is removed as the hospital and the government intend.”

“Baby Joseph is only 13 months old and often has difficulty breathing on his own. He needs a procedure called a tracheostomy in order to go home and live under his parents’ care. However, the Canadian health care system is refusing to let the family take care of their son — even though hospitals in the United States have privately said that they would take Joseph in and give him the tracheostomy he needs to survive,” he explained. “U.S. doctors and hospitals who are now familiar with the case are appalled that Baby Joseph hadn’t received the tracheostomy 3 or 4 months ago rather than make the baby suffer all this time.”

“Baby Joseph’s parents are pleading with the world for a hospital with the courage to step forward and accept their son for evaluation and treatment. Priests For Life has even agreed to supply medical air transport to and from the facilities. We will support the cost of the hospitalization and after-care including nursing. Home ventilators have also been donated to maintain Baby Joseph if needed,” he continued.