Published September 28, 2011 | FoxNews.com
The baby who in March was hours from being pulled off life support at a Canadian hospital but was rescued by the national director of Priests for Life and taken to the U.S. for treatment, has died Tuesday night at his Windsor, Ontario home.
Twenty-month-old Joseph Maraachli, who suffered from a rare, progressive neurological disease that left him in a vegetative state beyond recovery, had been kept alive by a respirator until he underwent an operation in the U.S. that alleviated his symptoms.
The boy was known affectionately as “Baby Joseph.” He took center stage in a right-to-life dispute after Canadian doctors refused to perform a tracheotomy on the boy, which would have allowed him to die in the comfort of his own home instead of hospital bed.
His parents appealed to Canadian courts, but the hospital’s decision was upheld.
But Rev. Frank Pavone and other Priests for Life staff eventually took the boy to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, where doctors performed the tracheotomy allowing the boy to be moved back to his home.
Pavone said in a statement:
“I learned with sadness tonight of the passing of Baby Joseph, and extend my prayers to his family. This young boy and his parents fulfilled a special mission from God. Amidst a Culture of Death where despair leads us to dispose of the vulnerable, they upheld a Culture of Life where hope leads us to welcome and care for the vulnerable.”
He continued, “From my first conversation with Baby Joseph’s parents, they expressed to me their trust in God. They had no demands of Him regarding how long their son would live. They just wanted to fulfill their calling to love their child unconditionally and to protect him from those who considered his life worthless.
“I praise God tonight for the tens of thousands who stood with Priests for Life and other prolife groups to save Baby Joseph. We remain convinced that the value of life is not measured in months or years, but rather reflected in the love we share moment by moment. We all loved Joseph, because God entrusts us to the care of each other. In that conviction we will continue to counteract the culture of death and restore protection and equality to all, born and unborn.”
Priests for Life covered all of the family’s medical bills while Joseph underwent treatment in the U.S. and also covered the costs of Joseph’s flight home, the Windsor Star reports.
“This is all the family ever wanted, let God decide when their child should leave this earth, not doctors our the civil courts,” Brother Paul O’Donnell posted on Facebook, according to the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation’s website.