As I'm sure you know, the now-famous case of Baby Joseph in Canada is becoming critical. He could die in the next couple of weeks if his breathing tube is removed as the hospital and the government intend.
Baby Joseph is only 13 months old and often has difficulty breathing on his own. He needs a procedure called a tracheostomy in order to go home and live under his parents' care. However, the Canadian health care system is refusing to let the family take care of their son -- even though hospitals in the United States have privately said that they would take Joseph in and give him the tracheostomy he needs to survive. U.S. doctors and hospitals who are now familiar with the case are appalled that Baby Joseph hadn't received the tracheostomy 3 or 4 months ago rather than make the baby suffer all this time.
Baby Joseph's parents are pleading with the world for a hospital with the courage to step forward and accept their son for evaluation and treatment. Priests For Life has even agreed to supply medical air transport to and from the facilities. We will support the cost of the hospitalization and after-care including nursing. Home ventilators have also been donated to maintain Baby Joseph if needed.
There are U.S. physicians in Michigan willing to oversee Baby Joseph's outpatient care and assist in weaning him off the home ventilator should it be necessary.
We have yet to find one facility that said it would not perform the tracheostomy on Baby Joseph.
The real problem is that health care providers in the U.S. need Baby Joseph's medical records -- but the Canadian authorities are refusing to release them.
Therefore, I need your help to continue to contact the Canadian authorities so that a proper and humane solution to this problem can be found. We have recently discovered that Canadian law requires the hospital to release these records to Baby Joseph's parents upon request. And to date, they have refused.
This is what is preventing hospitals in the United States from being able to accept Baby Joseph. We need those medical records! And we need them now!
We are continuing our search for a hospital in the United States to take Baby Joseph, and they won't do that without the records.
So please send an email to the Canadian authorities -- and at the same time say a strong prayer for Baby Joseph and his parents. Time is running out, so please act now.
And while you're on your computer, please forward this urgent email to everyone you know, and we may have a strong chance of saving Baby Joseph from a cruel death.
Fr. Frank Pavone
P.S. There are currently many false reports and rumors in the media that Baby Joseph is in a persistent vegetative state. He's not. He's only 13 months old, and simply isn't getting the care he needs. Any baby would suffer if not given proper care. So please don't listen to the same kind of lies and distortions that caused Terri Schiavo's untimely death.
This is why it so important that the medical records are released so the truth can come out.
To join a Facebook page in support of the parents of Joseph Maraachli, click here.
LONDON, Ontario, March 8, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The new Canadian lawyer for dying one-year-old Joseph Maraachli, whose doctors are seeking to remove his ventilator against his parents wishes, announced today that the family will take the case to Ontarios highest court.
Ive been retained to file an appeal to the notice of appeal to the decision of the superior court, Windsor lawyer Claudio Martini, who the family hired over the weekend, told the Windsor Star on Tuesday. I will be filing the appeal in the next day or so.
The Ontario Court of Appeal will be asked to rule on the February 17th decision of Ontario Superior Court Justice Helen Rady, who backed the doctors decision to take Joseph off life support.
The family has also retained the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a constitutional law firm, to explore options to get their son medical treatment in the United States. The family hopes to find a hospital to perform a tracheostomy which will allow them to take Joseph home.
Priests for Life has said they have a jet standing by to fly Joseph and his family to a U.S. hospital as soon as possible. Fr. Frank Pavone, the organizations national director, revealed Monday that physicians in Michigan have agreed to oversee Josephs outpatient care and help wean him off the home ventilator if necessary. We have yet to find one facility that said it would not perform the tracheostomy on Baby Joseph, he said.
The real problem is that health care providers in the U.S. need Baby Josephs medical records - but the Canadian authorities are refusing to release them, Fr. Pavone said.
Joseph suffers from a severe neurological disorder, but his specific condition remains undiagnosed. The Maraachlis daughter Zina died from similar complications eight years ago, but in that case they took her home after doctors performed a tracheostomy.
Dr. Paul Byrne, a fifty-year veteran in the field of neonatology based in Ohio, has said that Joseph should have had a tracheostomy a long time ago. He also insisted that he has never seen a need to remove a childs ventilator, saying that if a baby has a disease process thats so bad that theyre going to die, then they die on the ventilator anyway.
The family has not requested a home ventilator, though two have been donated. In Zinas case, she was taken off the ventilator and lived for 6 months with the family suctioning mucus when necessary.
After the Superior Court ruling, the hospital had appeared set to remove Josephs ventilator on February 21st, but that was delayed when their previous lawyer, Mark Handelman, made clear to the family that they could refuse.
Justice Radys decision was based on doctors testimony that he is in a permanent vegetative state with no brain stem reflex. But the family has contested that claim, pointing to footage showing him flailing and reacting to tickling.
The hospital is now asking Ontarios Office of the Public Guardian to intervene and allow them to take Joseph off his ventilator, after the parents have continued to refuse consent.
Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, has warned that the court decision facilitates a system where doctors are authorized to force life and death decisions on patients. He has said he believes it is far worse than the death panels recently debated in the U.S. as part of the federal health care law.
Its the hospitals and the doctors once again usurping their power over the people, he said. Thats whats happening. And they have significant power - they have the money and the courts behind them. Its absolutely ridiculous.
Over 14,000 people have rallied behind the parents through the Facebook page Save baby Joseph.
To join a Facebook page in support of the parents of Joseph Maraachli, click here.
President and CEO, London Health Sciences Centre
800 Commissioners Road East
London, Ontario Canada N6A 5W9
Dalton McGuinty, Premier
Toronto ON M7A 1A1
Fax: (416) 325-3745
E-mail: Use this form.
Tim Hudak, Opposition Leader
The Ontario PC Party
19 Duncan Street
Toronto, ON M5H 3H1
First, kudos to Windsor Star reporter Sonja Puzic for her accurate and sensitive work on keeping Windsorites up-to-date on this heartbreaking story of Baby Joseph Maraachli and his parents.
Thanks as well to Anne Jarvis for her insightful column looking carefully at both sides of a highly controversial issue in the March 4 edition of our newspaper.
It is obvious through media pictures and reporting that little Joseph has had exemplary care given by highly qualified professionals (doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, etc.) in Children's Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre. He appears well nourished, provided with breathing support by ventilator and surrounded by love.
The central issue surrounding the baby's care is the parents desire to bring their baby son back home to die. Media reports have indicated that the parents believe that a tracheotomy would support their infant son's breathing.
This is a surgical procedure that opens the throat into the trachea (breathing tube). A device called a cannula is secured in place to ensure an opening for breathing.
However it does not ensure that normal, spontaneous breathing will occur.
Moe, the baby's father, told me: "Our first child (with the same neurodegenerative disorder) had a tracheotomy and we took care of her at home."
He also stated: "We managed this tracheotomy without a problem or infection for six months prior to her death."
They also were able to suction and maintain the cleanliness of the tubing. Their baby girl died quietly in their arms. They want the same for their infant son.
Unlike their daughter's situation, Baby Joseph's appears more difficult. His breathing has been maintained on a ventilator since October 2010. According to standard procedure, the hospital indicates that attempts at "weaning" Joseph off the ventilator have been made, but were unsuccessful.
This could be due to degen-erative damage to the breathing centre of the brain, a loss of muscle support in the chest wall and/or other complications.
Unfortunately, the baby needs support to breathe by the use of mechanical ventilation. It is highly unlikely that little Joseph could breathe on his own 24 hours a day. Therefore a ventilator is needed whether or not a tracheotomy is done. Having a tracheotomy in place may not keep Baby Joseph breathing on his own.
It would seem to me that undergoing a tracheotomy at this time, would be an additional trauma and burden for Baby Joseph. Experts in the field of ventilatory assistance have provided feedback regarding the tremendous difficulties in attempting to remove longterm ventilation for infants and adults, depending on the underlying disease.
In efforts to bring Baby Joseph home, there have been concerned professionals who have made themselves available to the parents. One item not reported is the existence of two infant, portable respirators for Joseph's use.
Instructions for the parents on how to care for the baby on the portable ventilator would be provided and followed. This would allow the infant to have his breathing supported at home.
At this point, Children's Hospital could bring the infant home with a doctor and nurse present as they have suggested. Baby Joseph could then be switched to the portable ventilator and mom and dad could have their son at home.
Fifty-four years ago, my first son was born with a congenital abnormality that was considered inoperable. Thomas Andrew came home to die. Yes there was agony, but the comfort to me then and even now after all these years, is that he died at home surrounded and supported by a loving, extended family.
So, I hear the heartfelt cries of these grief-struck parents.
As a community, we should be doing everything in our power to acknowledge the plight of Baby Joseph and his family. Let's try to bring him home where he can die with dignity, in the arms of his family.
We would have to recognize and support the multitude of difficulties that his care would entail.
There are answers. The citizens of Windsor always seem to have them when it comes to caring for their own.
Jean Echlin lives in Windsor and is an independent nurse consultant in palliative care and gerontology.
An American hospital has asked to treat Baby Joseph and a transfer was expected to begin as soon as the weekend, The Free Press has learned.
The U.S. hospital, its identity not publicly disclosed, made the request Friday through lawyer Claudio Martini, who represents the parents of the dying Windsor infant who's been at a London hospital since last fall.
"(The American hospital) is ready, able and willing to accept Joseph," Martini said.
Martini said he trusted that London hospital officials were responding in good faith and that a transfer was imminent.
(Excerpt) Read more at lfpress.com ...