Patrick Craine

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Fr. Pavone, the ‘Terri Schiavo Priest’, will pay to bring Baby Joseph to U.S.

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

ROME, Italy, February 25, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Father Frank Pavone, who became known as the “Terri Schiavo Priest” for his role in trying to save the life of the late Florida woman in 2005, has joined the fight to save a Canadian baby from a cruel early death.

“If I have to fly from Rome to Canada to get Baby Joseph out of the hospital and back home where he belongs, I am ready to do that right now,” said Father Pavone, who has been attending meetings at the Vatican this week.

Father Pavone said Priests for Life will pay all expenses to bring Baby Joseph and his family to a hospital in the United States that would agree to perform the tracheotomy that would make it possible for him to go home.

“The parents of this precious boy are asking only to be allowed to bring Baby Joseph home, where he can die surrounded by those who love him,” said Father Pavone, national director of Priests for Life. “It’s beyond imagination that they would have to ask. This is not an issue that belongs in the court, or in the hands of his doctors. This is their son; he needs to be home with his family.

“This couple lost a child to this same disease eight years ago so they know exactly what they are dealing with, and what to expect as Baby Joseph reaches the end of his life. The small comfort they could take from Zina’s death was to know she died in peace surrounded by those whose lives she had touched in her own short life. They want the same for Baby Joseph.”

Father Pavone was with Terri Schiavo’s parents, brother and sister in her hospital room in the hours before the Florida woman died in 2005, two weeks after a court declared she could be denied food and water to bring on her death. Like the Maraachli family, the Schindlers wanted to bring Terri home.

“This same barbaric act is what the Canadian court is asking Baby Joseph’s family to endure,” Father Pavone said. “It is cruel, it is criminal and it cannot be allowed to happen again.”

Priests for Life is the largest Catholic pro-life organization in the U.S. dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia.

Last Thursday, Ontario Superior Court Justice Helen Rady upheld the January verdict of the Consent and Capacity Board of Ontario that supported the doctors’ move to take Joseph off life support against his parents’ wishes.  Representatives for the family announced Thursday that their lawyer is working to broker a deal with his hospital.

In the last couple days, the case has drawn attention from major pro-life and anti-euthanasia groups in the U.S. who hope to find a hospital willing to take over Joseph’s care.

Bobby Schindler, brother of Terri Schiavo and executive director of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, traveled to Ontario Thursday by invitation from the family to advocate for Joseph.  He was joined by Rev. Pat Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition in Washington, D.C.

The hospital had appeared set to remove Joseph’s life support on Monday at 10 a.m., but that got delayed when the family hired expert lawyer Mark Handelman over the weekend with the financial support of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

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 says that footage released Thursday by LifeSiteNews belies the doctors’ claim.  The videos, taken over the weekend, show him flailing and reacting to tickling.  They also show that his hands have been tied down - a measure the hospital took after Joseph removed the tube from his throat on at least two separate occasions.

Joseph suffers from a severe neurological disorder, but his specific condition remains undiagnosed.  Doctors have given him no chance of recovery, so his parents, Moe Maraachli and Sana Nader, have asked them to perform a tracheotomy which would enable him to breathe on his own, so that they could take him home.  The doctors have refused, saying the procedure is too risky.

Their daughter died from similar complications eight years ago, but in that case doctors performed a tracheotomy and they were able to take her home.

The family has been trying to have Joseph transferred to a hospital in the U.S., where they believe he’ll get better care or at least a reassessment, and possibly the tracheotomy they need to bring him home. 

The family has also expressed concerns that hospital security is following them around and denying them private visitations with Joseph.

On Tuesday, Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit, where the family had hoped to have Joseph transferred, refused to take him despite previous assurances that they would.  The family says, however, that they are far from out of options.

The clock is ticking for the family, however, as Joseph’s current hospital has asked Ontario’s Office of the Public Guardian to assume decision-making power after the family refused to have Joseph’s life support removed on Monday.  The public guardian could order it removed at any point.

Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, warned in a Fox news interview 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 11,000 people have rallied behind the parents through the Facebook page “Save baby Joseph”.

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

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: [email protected]

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: [email protected]

See Composing Effective Communications in Response to LifeSiteNews Reports.

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