To join a Facebook page in support of the parents of Joseph Maraachli, click here.

See excellent Feb. 22 Fox News video report on this story.

See second Fox video report with Baby Joseph’s father and Alex Schadenberg.

LONDON, Ontario, February 22, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - While things were looking up for the parents of Joseph Maraachli this past weekend, the picture has now become bleaker. In the latest twist in the case the London hospital where their dying son is being cared for is seeking to remove the parents’ decision-making power after they refused to have him taken off life support. Hospital security is also denying them private visitations.

Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, which has been offering support to the parents, Moe Maraachli and Sana Nader, says they are now only allowed to see their son with a security guard present.

“They fight my family. ... they put security for me.  They never give me private to pray with my son,” Moe told Fox News this afternoon.

“Security watch me and security stay with me,” he added.  “When I go to hospital I feel I am not in Canada.  I feel I’m in jail or they kidnapped my baby.”

“It’s ridiculous.  It’s not like they could pick the child up and take him home.  The baby would die,” said Schadenberg.

Schadenberg said that Moe tried to bring him in to see Joseph on Monday, but security denied him access to the room, and told him to leave the premises.  “It’s become crazy.  The hospital’s going overboard and it makes no sense,” he said.

With the help of pro-life and anti-euthanasia advocates, Joseph’s parents have been trying to have their son moved to a hospital in Michigan.  London’s Victoria Hospital, where Joseph has been treated since October, sent the records to the Michigan hospital Monday and the parents are still waiting to hear back.

But hospital officials now say that they may go ahead with removing Joseph’s life support even if the Michigan hospital or another agrees to the transfer.  Because the parents refused to have Joseph’s life support removed Monday, the hospital has asked the Office of the Public Guardian to assume decision-making power.  That office is expected to take a couple days, but could order his life support removed at any point.

The hospital originally appeared set to remove his life support on Monday at 10 a.m. after a Thursday ruling by the Ontario Superior Court.

“Monday at 10 am. they will kill my baby,” Moe had told LifeSiteNews shortly after the ruling.  “There’s no more humanity.  There’s no more chance.  I’ve tried everything for him.  No more appeals, nothing.”

But that was delayed over the weekend after the parents hired expert lawyer Mark Handelman, with the financial backing of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

To make a donation to cover the legal costs please click here.

At that point, they learned that they could refuse to consent to the life support removal, which they did, prompting the hospital to go the public guardian.

Though Joseph has been at Victoria Hospital since October with a severe neurological disorder, his specific condition remains undiagnosed.  Nevertheless, doctors have given him no chance of recovery.  Moe and Sana have asked doctors to perform a tracheotomy so that they could take Joseph home, but the doctors refused, saying the procedure was too risky.

The Maraachlis’ daughter died from similar complications eight years ago, but in that case doctors performed a tracheotomy and they were able to take her home.  Joseph’s parents want the same for him.

But in January, the Consent and Capacity Board of Ontario sided with the hospital, and a date for removing Joseph’s respirator was set.  The family was able to hold it off by filing an appeal with the Superior Court.

Superior Court Justice Helen Rady also sided with the hospital, saying that Joseph is in a permanent vegetative state with no brain stem reflex.

The hospital says nine specialists have confirmed he’s in a “persistent vegetative state,” but the family and their close supporters disagree.  Family members say Joseph is fully responsive to touch, particularly that he hates being touched by cold hands, tickles easily, and moves his head when his hair is brushed.  They also say he responds to loud noises by turning his head toward the sound.

The hospital has warned the family that they will be banned from the hospital if they try to take videos, which is preventing the family from documenting Joseph’s responses and movements, said Sam Sansalone, who had to fight with the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children for his own daughter’s life nine years ago, and is now helping Joseph’s family as a media representative.

Over 5,000 people have rallied behind the parents through the Facebook page “Save baby Joseph”.

“This would be a second tragedy for the parents,” said Schadenberg.  “Not only must they accept that their child is terminally ill, ... but their power to even decide how to care for their child is going to be removed from them - only because they love him.”

“Because of love they’re going to have their ability to make decisions for their child removed from them - in order for the hospital to take control,” he continued.  “That’s a tragedy.”

To join a Facebook page in support of the parents of Joseph Maraachli, click here.

To make a donation to cover the legal costs please 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

See Composing Effective Communications in Response to LifeSiteNews Reports.