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article imageSupporters want Baby Joseph sent home Special

By Ken Wightman     Mar 5, 2011 in Health
London - Baby Joseph is dying. On this notion both the Canadian hospital and Baby Joseph's parents agree. The dispute arises as to where the infant will die. Will it be in the hospital or at home?
Saturday dozens of supporters protested the hospital's refusal to perform a tracheotomy on the little boy before sending him home to face certain death.
The 13-month-old son of Moe Maraachli and Sana Nader of Windsor Ontario, known to the world as Baby Joseph, was admitted to Victoria Hospital in London Ontario last October. The family was on the way home from Toronto, not quite halfway to Windsor, when their infant son developed life-threatening breathing difficulties. They rushed the boy to emergency in Ingersoll and from there he was taken to the London Health Sciences Centre's pediatric critical care unit.
It is now March and the little boy is still being cared for in the Southwestern Ontario hospital. The doctors have determined he is dying of the same progressive neurodegenerative disease that claimed his sister, Zina, eight years ago. The doctors would like to remove the breathing tube keeping the little boy alive. His parents want the doctors to perform a tracheotomy and let them take their son home to die, as was done with Joseph's sister. She lived six months with a tracheotomy before succumbing to the fatal genetic disease.
Moe Maraachli   of Windsor Ontario  and father of Baby Joseph talks with DJ at the London  Ontario r...
Moe Maraachli , of Windsor Ontario, and father of Baby Joseph talks with DJ at the London, Ontario rally held in early 2011 in support of the family's efforts to take their son home to die.
Asked how Zina died, father Moe Maraachli assured DJ, "She died peacefully." Zina was 18-months-old. Doctors fear Joseph would face the risk of serious infection if given a tracheotomy. Pneumonia and other complications are possible, the doctor say. According to The London Free Press, Zina died "after being taken back to the hospital by her parents."
The family was hoping Baby Joseph could be transferred to Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit, but the American hospital refused to accept the infant as a patient. Maraachli told DJ of the frustration of trying to find a hospital to take his son. "I've talked to doctors throughout Canada, the United States and Europe . . . ," the father stopped and shook his head.
The London doctors have received the support of Ontario’s Consent and Capacity Board and London judge Justice Helen Rady last week agreed with their position. With Joseph’s parents continuing to refuse to consent to ending life support, the hospital took the matter to Ontario’s Public Guardian.
The heartbreaking story has received a great deal of exposure around the world and is an especially big story in the United States. Some in the American media are reporting that this could not happen in the States and are laying the blame squarely on the Canadian health system.
End of life decisions confront the medical community with difficult ethical problems but such situations are not unique to Canada. This is a story that can and does happen from time to time almost everywhere in the world.
In truth, this has happened in the States. According to the Houston Chronicle this story played itself out in Texas with a little boy named Sun Hudson. The paper reported:
". . . a medical staffer at Texas Children's Hospital gently removed the breathing tube that had kept Sun Hudson alive since his birth Sept. 25. Cradled by his mother, he took a few breaths, and died.
"I talked to him, I told him that I loved him. Inside of me, my son is still alive," Wanda Hudson told reporters afterward. "This hospital was considered a miracle hospital. When it came to my son, they gave up in six months. ... They made a terrible mistake."
Sun's death marks the first time a U.S. judge has allowed a hospital to discontinue an infant's life-sustaining care against a parent's wishes . . . "
In another American case, this time in New Jersey in 2010. The Star-Ledger reported:
"Ruben Betancourt, 73, lay in a persistent vegetative state for nearly a year at Trinitas Medical Center in Elizabeth. He was hooked up to a ventilator, dialysis machine and feeding tube. Doctors concluded there was no hope of recovery and further treatment would be futile, but Betancourt’s daughter did not agree. Against her wishes, the hospital placed a “do not resuscitate” sign on his bed and halted dialysis."
The daughter went to court, and in this case a judge ordered treatment resumed. Betancourt later died
Moe Maraachli and Sana Nader may be having a problem finding another hospital to step in to allow the LHSC to step aside but they are finding lots of support from outside the medical community. The London Free Press reports that CeCe Heil, an American lawyer and friend of Sarah Palin, is now involved. Heil has reportedly set her sights on moving Baby Joseph to an American hospital.
"She does so with the backing of a Washington, D.C., law firm that has played a big role in Christian conservative causes across the United States, including the representation of the parents of Terri Schiavo.
Speaking by phone from her home state, Heil, who is a senior counsel with the firm, said Americans just can’t fathom how a hospital could pull the plug on a child over the protests of parents."
If Heil should be successful in her search, there is reportedly a group with a jet standing by, ready to fly Baby Joseph and his parents anywhere in America at a moment's notice.
According to the Maraachli's hometown paper, The Windsor Star, those wishing to donate to a trust fund for Joseph Maraachli can do so at any TD Canada Trust branch by providing the branch number 0084 and the account number 6406405.
Protesters supporting the parents of Baby Joseph lined Commissioners Road  and Wellington Road at th...
Protesters supporting the parents of Baby Joseph lined Commissioners Road and Wellington Road at the busy intersection near the large hospital complex.
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