U.S. group has jet for dying Ontario baby but no hospital offer for transfer

Jeff Bolichowski

Document Publication: PostMedia News

March 06, 2011

WINDSOR, Ont. — An offer to whisk an ailing Windsor baby away on the wing to a U.S. hospital has gone unanswered, claims a U.S. priests’ group.

Staten Island, N.Y.-based Priests for Life say they have a jet standing by to fly 13-month-old Joseph Maraachli to the U.S. for treatment, but they’ve had no hospitals come forward to take him. Joseph is currently housed at the London, Ont., Health Sciences Centre, where he’s battling a fatal severe neurological disorder that killed his sister nine years ago.

“We need one hospital with a sophisticated neo-natal unit and the courage to actually agree to take this child.” said Father Frank Pavone, the group’s national director, in a statement. “It’s becoming increasingly difficult to explain to the public why it is that not one has committed to do this yet.”

A statement on the group’s website also calls for the release of Joseph’s medical records to U.S. doctors.

The group is among the latest to leap into the headline-grabbing saga of “Baby Joseph” as his parents fight over his fate. They want doctors to perform a tracheotomy so they can take him home to die.

Doctors have refused, claiming the operation would not improve Joseph’s quality of life. They’ve offered to take Joseph home on life support and remove his breathing tube while in his parent’s arms.

Rallies took place in London over the weekend as supporters came out to back Joseph’s parents.

The London Free Press reported about two dozen people attended a rally at a hotel across from the hospital. The paper said many of those involved were with two U.S.-based groups, the Christian Defense Coalition and the Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network.
The rallies come on the heels of Joseph’s parents retaining a U.S. legal team, including an ally of former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Among the family’s lawyers is Palin ally CeCe Heil of Tennessee. She’s part of the American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative law group founded by televangelist Pat Robertson.

Heil earned Palin’s backing last year as she sought the Republican nod in a Tennessee congressional district, but was defeated.

ACLJ spokesman Gene Kapp said the organization has an entire team on Joseph’s case.

“We are exploring all options with the parents and are representing their interests in the United States only,” said ACLJ chief counsel Jay Sekulow in a statement.

“We’re working with the parents to determine the likelihood of bringing their son to the United States to receive the medical treatment he needs and deserves.”

Alberta advocate Sam Sansalone, acting as a spokesman for the family, said Heil is the “front person” for the team on Joseph’s case.

Though he acknowledged Heil wouldn’t be able to speak to a Canadian court, since the ACLJ isn’t based here, he said they’d be helpful in getting Joseph moved to a U.S. hospital. He touted the firm’s background in constitutional law.

“If I had to pick a constitutionally experienced law firm, they’re the top,” he said.

© Copyright (c) The Windsor Star
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Priests for Life
PO Box 236695 • Cocoa, FL 32923
Tel. 321-500-1000, Toll Free 888-735-3448 • Email: mail@priestsforlife.org