ST. LOUIS, MO—By
this afternoon, 15-month-old Baby Joseph Maraachli will be home with his family
in Windsor, Canada.
Baby Joseph,” was released from the SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s
Medical Center in St. Louis about 7:30 a.m. Thursday and is being transported
back home to Windsor, Canada. Once he arrives in Canada he will be checked by
medical professionals and then taken to his family’s home.
Br. Paul O’Donnell the Franciscan Brothers of Peace of St. Paul, Minn.,
has been in St. Louis since April 9 visiting the child’s family when the
hospital began to successfully wean the infant off the ventilator.
“I was privileged to be one of the first American supporters of Baby
Joseph and the Maraachli family”, he said. “We assembled a team of
pro-life and anti-euthanasia leaders and mounted a grass roots campaign to have
Baby Joseph transferred to a hospital in the U.S.”
The international case of Baby Joseph began when the London Health
Sciences Centre in Ontario refused the parents request to perform a tracheotomy
and wean the child off a ventilator. The parents. Moe Maraachli and Sana Nader,
then wanted to transfer him to the family home where they would care for him
until he dies. Joseph has a neurological disease and his long term prognosis is
grim. The London hospital took the case to the Consent & Capacity Board of
Ontario (Death Panel) and then to court, which both ruled in the hospital’s
favor and ordered the parents to consent.
Baby Joseph was hours from being pulled off life support at LHSC before
his situation made national headlines, forcing the hospital to cease its
efforts to end the baby’s life.
After weeks of public pressure, especially though social media, the
London Heath Sciences Centre relented and on March 13, Joseph was air
transported to the U.S., rescued by the Priests for Life and Fr. Frank Pavone
of Staten Island and transferred to SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical
Center in St. Louis.
“I was able to hold this child in my arms and look into his eyes”. Br.
Paul said. “He received the tracheotomy and was successfully weaned off the
ventilator and has now been breathing on his own for the past 12 days. The
London hospital used terms like “futile” and “vegetative“ when describing
Joseph and his condition. I would use terms such as “precious” and “lovable”
for he is a child of God”.
Twelve days after off the ventilator, Br. Paul says Baby Joseph is much
more alert and is not requiring any additional oxygen. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yghS1wKJiRA
“Baby Joseph remains a sick little boy and his time on earth may indeed
be short. However, when he eventually dies, it will be God who decides when and
not the courts and doctors. Now this little one will have precious time with
his family, surrounded by love”, Br. Paul said.
“Our mission to save Baby Joseph and help his family was never
based on any prediction of the future, but rather on the value of his life here
and now”, Fr. Pavone says.
“Our critics, on the other hand, looking into the crystal ball that
‘right to die’ advocates seem to always think they have, claimed our intervention
was futile because Joseph would only end up having a machine do his breathing
“We don’t have to answer their criticism; 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.
“Baby Joseph’s victory over the culture of death is especially powerful
now, as we prepare for Easter, a time when Christians everywhere celebrate
Jesus’ victory over death”, Fr. Pavone said.
“I want to commend the fine, caring staff at Cardinal Glennon Children’s
Medical Center for their professional excellence and their faith. Likewise
I want to thank the team at Kalitta MedFlight in Michigan, who donated the air
ambulance and crew to fly Baby Joseph from Ontario to St. Louis last month, and
who are flying him home today. Thanks also to the many groups and countless
individuals who stepped forward, spoke up, donated, and helped to intervene for
“Priests for Life is happy and humbled to have played a small part in
making this joyous day possible. We ask everyone to join us as we continue to
pray for Baby Joseph and his family.”
Priests for Life is covering Baby Joseph’s medical expenses and has set
up a fund for that purpose. Go to www.BabyJosephCentral.com to donate and to keep
updated on related stories.
Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life
organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information,
visit www.priestsforlife.org. 4-21-11