WINDSOR, Ontario, April 21, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Baby Joseph and his family arrived in Windsor, Ontario on a medical transport flight from St. Louis, Missouri this morning. He is now at the family home, according to Brother Paul O’Donnell.
On behalf of Baby Joseph’s family, Brother O’Donnell told LifeSiteNews that that their son was weaned off ventilator support 12 days ago and has been successfully breathing on his own since then.
Baby Joseph, who has been at the center of an international right-to-life debate over the past few months, has defied critics by responding so well to treatment. After the Ontario hospital treating Joseph’s progressive and terminal neurological disease threatened to remove his life support against his parents’ wishes earlier this year, pro-life groups rallied to Joseph’s cause.
With the financial support and assistance of Father Frank Pavone and Priests for Life, Joseph was taken to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis, Missouri where doctors performed the tracheotomy that Joseph’s parents had been requesting all along.
Sixteen-month-old Baby Joseph received a successful tracheotomy on March 21, responding well to the procedure, which gave him increased mobility and comfort while providing a stable, secure airway. With the tracheotomy, which created an opening into Joseph’s windpipe through an incision in his neck, Joseph’s airway has been kept free from secretions that would have caused him to choke.
Dr. Robert Wilmott, Chief of Pediatrics for SSM Cardinal Glennon and Saint Louis University School of Medicine, said Joseph has been breathing so well on his own there will be no need to take him to a local rehabilitation hospital and he can be transported to Ontario.
“Joseph has been breathing on his own, without the aid of a mechanical ventilator, for more than a week,” Wilmott said. “By providing him with this common palliative procedure, we’ve given Joseph the chance to go home and be with his family after spending so much of his young life in the hospital.”
Meanwhile, Joseph’s parents and 7-year-old brother, who have spent more than a month in St. Louis, have expressed their extreme gratitude to all who have made it possible to save the life of their son.
“So many people from the United States and Canada and all around the world have reached out, sent letters and called my family to let us know they were praying for us and thinking about us,” Joseph’s father Moe Maraachli said. “This has really helped our family through this hard time, to know there is so much kindness in the world.”
“We are so grateful for the amazing care and compassion we have received from the doctors, nurses and staff of Cardinal Glennon. Our family also wants to thank the team at Windsor Regional Hospital for reaching out to our family and Dr. Wilmott and making the transfer back home a reality.”
Commending the staff at Cardinal Glennon, Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life said Joseph has defied so many critics.
“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. 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 for him,” said Fr. Pavone.
“We don’t have to answer their criticism; Joseph is doing that for us, with every breath he takes,” continued Fr. Pavone. “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.”
“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.”