Baby Joseph Is Home, and Breathing Free

A victory over death, and bureaucracy.

 

John Hayward

  Human Events
  4/21/2011
 

“Baby Joseph” Maraachli, the 15-month-old Canadian boy who was sentenced to death by the Canadian health care system, is back home in Windsor after a last-minute rescue by Father Frank Pavone and Priests for Life.

Joseph suffers from a rare and baffling neurological disease. Critics of the effort to extend his life said that he would never breathe without the aid of a machine. Priests for Life paid for his transport and care at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis. There a simple tracheotomy procedure was performed, making an incision in the baby’s neck to access his windpipe. “By providing him with this common palliative procedure, we’ve given Joseph the chance to go home and be with his family after spending so much of his young life in the hospital,” said Chief of Pediatrics Dr. Robert Wilmott, who described the operation as a “success.”

In a press release, Priests for Life noted that “the crystal ball that ‘right to die’ advocates seem to always think they have” seems to have come up with “Answer Cloudy, Ask Again Later.”

“We don’t have to answer their criticism,” said Father Pavone. “Joseph is doing that for us, with every breath he takes. He has gained benefit from his tracheotomy, is breathing on his own, and is going home to live with his parents, who will love and care for him for as much time as God gives them together.”

The end of Baby Joseph’s life was duly ordained by all the right medical experts in Canada and London. All of the paperwork was properly filled out, and certified by judges. His reprieve was financed by volunteer donations to Priests for Life, which maintains a web page for donations here. “So many people from the United States and Canada and all around the world have reached out, sent letters and called my family to let us know they were praying for us and thinking about us,” said Joseph’s father Moe in a press release. “This has really helped our family through this hard time, to know there is so much kindness in the world.”

Baby Joseph remains in a near-vegetative state. (Media reports inaccurately describe him as “vegetative,” but he does respond to some external stimuli, especially the presence of his parents.) How many days does he have left? No one knows, but today is one more. Is his story fated to have a sad ending? Perhaps… but despair is what happens when we skip ahead to the end of a life story, instead of turning the pages one at a time.

This is a time in which we contemplate the ultimate victory of love and hope over death. Here is another story to share with your family at Easter dinner.