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 Ontario’s highest court.

“I’ve 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 organization’s national director, revealed Monday that physicians in Michigan have agreed to oversee Joseph’s 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.

Joseph suffers from a severe neurological disorder, but his specific condition remains undiagnosed.  The Maraachli’s 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 child’s ventilator, saying that “if a baby has a disease process that’s so bad that they’re going to die, then they die on the ventilator anyway.”

The family has not requested a home ventilator, though two have been donated.  In Zina’s 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 Joseph’s ventilator on February 21st, but that was delayed when their previous lawyer, Mark Handelman, made clear to the family that they could refuse.

Justice Rady’s 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 Ontario’s 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.

“It’s the hospitals and the doctors once again usurping their power over the people,” he said.  “That’s what’s happening.  And they have significant power - they have the money and the courts behind them.  It’s 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.


Contact Information:

Bonnie Adamson
President and CEO, London Health Sciences Centre
800 Commissioners Road East
London, Ontario Canada N6A 5W9
Phone: 519-685-8462
E-mail: bonnie.adamson@lhsc.on.ca

Dalton McGuinty, Premier
Legislative Building
Queen’s Park
Toronto ON M7A 1A1
Fax: (416) 325-3745
E-mail: Use this form.

Tim Hudak, Opposition Leader
The Ontario PC Party
19 Duncan Street
Suite 401
Toronto, ON M5H 3H1
Phone: 416-861-0020
Toll-free: 1-800-903-6453
Fax: 416-861-9593
Email: tim.hudakco@pc.ola.org

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