“Baby Joseph’s” Parents to Carry on Baby’s Legacy

By Dave Andrusko

Moe Maraachli and his son Joseph

Good news from the home town newspaper of the family of “Baby Joseph” Maraachli. Tomorrow the late baby’s parents, Moe Maraachli and Sana Nader, will hold a press conference where they will “join forces” with the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, the London Free Press reported Tuesday.

“It’s the first opportunity to speak after the death of Joseph and his family wants to carry on Joseph’s legacy,” said Brother Paul O’Donnell, who counseled the family this year. “Moe Maraachli doesn’t want people to forget what happened at the London hospital.”

Joseph, who died at 20 months, was at the focal point of a ferocious legal and medical battle that began in Canada, picked up momentum in the United States, and (temporarily) concluded with the baby’s passing last week. As is often the case, truth was the first casualty.

The question was never whether Joseph would live a long life. He suffered from a rare neurological disorder that had already claimed the life of an older sibling. The issue was whether Joseph, who was placed  on a ventilator last October, would get a tracheotomy so he might be able to breathe without a ventilator and go home to spend whatever time he had left  with his family.

Doctors at London Health Sciences Centre adamantly refused, insisting the operation was futile. They argued Joseph was in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) and not only did not want to perform the tracheotomy but wanted to remove the breathing tube that kept him alive.

The parents took the case to Ontario’s Consent and Capacity board. In January the board sided with the doctors as did a judge the following month. Eventually, thanks in part to American pro-lifers such as Brother O’Donnell and Fr. Frank Pavone, founder of Priests for Life, Joseph was flown to Cardinal Glennon Hospital in St. Louis.

Doctors there concluded Joseph was not in a PVS but had a “disorder of consciousness.” They agreed to perform the surgery, connecting him to a portable ventilator so he could leave the hospital. Within three weeks of having the surgery to open his airway, Joseph was weaned from a ventilator.

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