Baby Joseph Maraachli Receives Tracheotomy Today at Hospital

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 21, 2011   |   12:06PM   |   St. Louis, MO

Baby Joseph Maraachli, the 14-month-old Canadian infant who was denied the medical procedure in his country, received a tracheotomy today at a Catholic hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.

Joseph was rescued a week ago from a Canadian hospital in London, Ontario  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.

Moe Maraachli, the baby’s father, released a statement saying, “Good morning all friends and family and supporters. Me and my wife we thank you so much for everything and for your praying to our baby Joseph ….today is big day for Joseph.”

Brother Paul O’Donnell, a Catholic advocate for the rights of the disabled, told the London Free Press that the medical procedure, where doctors make an incision in the infant’s throat to insert a breathing tube, started around 8 a.m. local time.

“I understand he’s doing very well,” said O’Donnell, who was a key figure in helping the family of Terri Schiavo when her former husband made the decision to take her life and subject her to a 13-day starvation and dehydration euthanasia death.

Later in the day, Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life added: “Today was a big day for Baby Joseph and his family, as the baby received a tracheotomy. Ordinary medical treatments are those that provide a reasonable hope of benefit without an excessive burden. Baby Joseph received today a wonderful benefit, through the love of his parents and the professional care of the Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center.”

“We at Priests for Life continue to challenge those in our society – whether medical professionals, government officials, or anyone else – to stop putting a price tag on human life. The idea that some lives are not worth living belongs to a past age of worn-out philosophies leading to massive holocausts that deserve to be bad memories on the ash heap of history, not threatening clouds on its horizon,” Fr. Pavone told

Last week, Dr. Robert Wilmott,  Cardinal Glennon Hospital’s chief of pediatrics, said Joseph would receive the medical procedure by the end of the week and Priest for Life officials indicated it would happen on Thursday or Friday but the days came and went and the procedure was not done.

Joseph’s parents, Moe Maraachli and Sana Nader, feuded with London, Ontario Health Sciences Centre, which denied the procedure to help him breathe easier while at home in the months and days he has left to live. Joseph had been at the Canadian hospital since October with a rare deteriorating condition that is not improving. The doctors who have cared for him wanted 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 has become an international cause for pro-life advocates in both Canada and the United States and Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life says Joseph is an example of why pro-life advocates need to stand up for the right to life of disabled people.

“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.

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.”

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.