Baby Joseph Maraachli Rescued from Canadian Hospital

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 14, 2011   |   9:46AM   |   London, Ontario

Baby Joseph Maraachli has been rescued from a Canadian hospital that refused to perform a medical procedure on the 13-month-old baby so he could return home to his family where he will soon die from a neurological disease that will take his life.

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. Joseph has been at London Health Sciences Centre in London, Ontario, since 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.

Over the weekend, Claudio Martini, an attorney helping the parents, told the London Free Press that an unnamed hospital has agreed to take Joseph. Late Sunday night, Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life in the United States, ensured the transfer took place.

Joseph and his father, Moe Maraachli, were flown with Father Pavone to SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis, Missouri on a specially equipped air ambulance provided by Michigan-based Kalitta Charters, and sponsored and paid for by Priests for Life.

“I knew, after this dragged on day after day, that I needed to be here myself to get Baby Joseph to safety,” said Father Pavone. “He needs to be in a hospital that cherishes life over the bottom line. After around-the-clock negotiations, this really became a race against time.”

“If there is a chance this boy can live, we have to explore every option,” he told

Bob Davidson, a spokesman with the SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center, said “Our physicians are examining Joseph to determine the best course of action.”

The American Center for Law and Justice, a pro-life law firm, said today it is extremely pleased that a hospital in Missouri has taken the infant. The ACLJ was retained by the child’s parents nearly two weeks ago to assist in exploring options to get their son medical treatment in the United States.

“We’re extremely pleased that this hospital – a leader in healthcare for children – has stepped forward to care for ‘Baby Joseph’ at such a critical time,” said Jay Sekulow, the group’s chief counsel.

“In representing the family’s interests in the U.S., we were able to assist in a number of vital areas – including assisting in the facilitation of the transfer of ‘Baby Joseph’ to the Missouri hospital as well as working to ensure there were no legal impediments in the transfer process.  We’re delighted with the outcome of this complex effort, which clears the way for the family to get the care and medical attention they need and deserve,” he added.

Pavone was supposed to arrive back home in New York earlier today after weekend speaking engagements in Cleveland. Instead, he flew to Detroit and then on to Canada, vowing not to leave the country until he had Baby Joseph and his father with him.

“Priests for Life staff toiled through the night for many nights, working in concert with dozens of people to make this possible,” Father Pavone said of the nighttime rescue mission. “Now that we have won the battle against the medical bureaucracy in Canada, the real work of saving Baby Joseph can begin.”

Pavone said Baby Joseph’s transfer was accomplished through the efforts of a number of people, including his parents; family spokesman Sam Sansalone; family attorney Claudio Martini; and Bobby Schindler of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network. Others who helped paved the way for Joseph to head to the United States incldue Dr. Martin McCaffrey, a neonatologist at the University of North Carolina; the Rev. Pat Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition in Washington; and attorney CeCe Heil from the American Center for Law and Justice.

Father Frank also thanked the many other Canadian pro-life groups and individuals who have been consistent and heroic in their advocacy for Baby Joseph and for all the vulnerable.

“We are united across national boundaries to continue to work together for a Culture of Life,” Father Pavone said.

Joseph cannot breathe on his own since he suffers from a severe and fatal neurological disorder. His sister, Zina, suffered from a similar condition and died years ago.

SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center opened in 1956 and was named in memory of Cardinal John Glennon, Archbishop of St. Louis from 1903 until his death in 1946. The hospital was a fulfillment of Cardinal Glennon’s vision of a health-care facility open to all children in need of medical care. The hospital is part of SSM Healthcare, which is run by the Franciscan Sisters of Mary. The system has 19 acute-care hospitals in Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin and Oklahoma.