For Immediate Release
Joseph Maraachli and his family flew back to Canada on Thursday, April 21, after the infant with a progressive neurological disease received a tracheotomy on March 21 at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis, Mo.
Joseph responded well to the tracheotomy, a procedure that provides him with increased mobility and comfort while providing a stable, secure airway. The tracheotomy also keeps his lower airway free from secretions and protects his lungs from inhaled saliva or other material that could cause aspiration pneumonia.
The tracheotomy, which creates an opening into Joseph’s windpipe through an incision in his neck, was a success, says Dr. Robert Wilmott, Chief of Pediatrics for SSM Cardinal Glennon and Saint Louis University School of Medicine.
“Joseph has been breathing on his own, without the aid of a mechanical ventilator, for more than a week,” Wilmott said. “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.”
Joseph, his parents and 7-year-old brother spent more than a month in St. Louis. The family was ready to return to Canada but will always cherish memories of the people they met while in St. Louis, said Moe Maraachli, Joseph’s father.
“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,” Moe Maraachli said. “This has really helped our family through this hard time, to know there is so much kindness in the world.
“We are so grateful for the amazing care and compassion we have received from the doctors, nurses and staff of Cardinal Glennon. Our family also wants to thank the team at Windsor Regional Hospital for reaching out to our family and Dr. Wilmott and making the transfer back home a reality.”
Doctors initially expected to transition Joseph to a local rehabilitation hospital, but he responded so well to the tracheotomy that he was discharged directly home to Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Joseph will transition home with the assistance of Windsor Regional Hospital in Ontario.
“I want to commend the Windsor Regional Hospital team for reaching out to the Maraachli family in early March to start planning for the arrival of Joseph back to Windsor,” stated David Musyj, President and CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital.
“The Maraachli family, Dr. Wilmott and his team at the SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center have been very helpful in keeping Windsor Regional Hospital up to date on Joseph’s clinical condition and coordinating the clinical needs, wishes and plans for Joseph’s return home.”
Both SSM Cardinal Glennon and Windsor Regional Hospital continue to send prayers and positive thoughts to the Maraachli family in the next phase of their journey.
Note to reporters:
We at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center have respected the wishes of the family for a calm departure from the hospital and the United States. However, we know there is significant media interest in how Joseph is doing after his tracheotomy. We made special arrangements for the family to release this statement and will make video footage of Joseph’s departure available to reporters this morning.