Baby Joseph Will Have Tracheotomy by the End of the Week

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 15, 2011   |   10:32AM   |   St. Louis, MO

Doctors at the Catholic hospital in Missouri that agreed to take Baby Joseph Maraachli, the 14-month-old Canadian infant who was denied the medical procedure in his country, say they will do a tracheotomy by the end of the week.

Joseph was rescued late Sunday from the Canadian hospital by Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, who paid for a private specialized medical plane to take the boy to SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis, Missouri so he could have the medical procedure before his parents take him home, where he will likely die soon from a degenerative neurological condition.

A team of specialists at the Catholic hospital have evaluated Joseph, who was “in serious but stable condition,” on arrival from London, Ontario Health Sciences Centre. In a statement released yesterday afternoon, Dr. Robert Wilmott,  Cardinal Glennon Hospital’s chief of pediatrics, said Joseph “likely will have a tracheotomy performed by the end of this week to facilitate his transition to a skilled nursing facility.”

Joseph remains on a breathing tube that he was on at the Canadian hospital and the tracheotomy would cut a hole in his neck for a direct airway to help make it easier for Joseph to breathe.

“If there is a chance this boy can live, we have to explore every option. Now that we have won the battle against the medical bureaucracy in Canada, the real work of saving Baby Joseph can begin,” said Father Pavone.

Pavone and Joseph’s father appeared on a Fox News show yesterday to talk about the latest developments.

“When God wants to take his life he will take it. And nobody can say no to God,” Moe Maraachli said.

Pavone talked about the rationale behind helping the infant.

“We’re not saying that people should be kept alive at any cost. Nor are we saying that there’s any specific treatment plan here that we’re imposing,” Pavone said. “What we’re saying is ‘Give the baby reasonable care and listen to the parents who want to give the baby a second chance in an American hospital.”

The family of Terri Schiavo understands the plight of a patient denied medical care and Terri’s brother Bobby Schindler has been helping Joseph’s parents get him to the United States from Canada. He applauded the rescue and is glad Joseph will be receiving proper care.

“This is a great victory for Baby Joseph, his family and for all the people and organizations that were committed to helping this precious child,” he said. “I’m just delighted that a groundswell of support began once we met with the family in Canada, and thankfully, Priests for Life followed with their help. Not only is this significant for this child but for all the medically dependent whose lives are at risk of health care rationing.”

Schindler added: “Baby Joseph was hours from being pulled off life support at LHSC before his situation made national headlines, forcing the hospital to cease its efforts to end the baby’s life. Fortunately, through the advocacy of various organizations and countless people, Baby Joseph was transferred to SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis.”

A statement Sunday night from the London hospital condemned the campaign to target it and help the young boy.

“Physicians and staff were targeted by well-organized social media feeds and directly via email with personal threats, threats to their families, innuendoes and falsehoods. The threats, many of which emanated from members of U.S.-based groups, have been passed along to LHSC lawyers, who will liaise with police where appropriate,” it said.
“Despite these intimidation tactics, LHSC physicians and administration continued to explore all available legal options to ensure that the best interests of Baby Joseph were met and Baby Joseph was provided with compassionate, quality care up until and during his transfer to London airport.”

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.

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.