LONDON, ON, January 31, 2011 ( – The parents of one-year-old Joseph Maraachli are taking their case to the Ontario Superior Court in the hopes of bringing their dying son home for his last days, reports the Windsor Star.


Baby Joseph Maraachli has been at the Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario, since mid-October when his parents, Moe and Sana Maraachli of Windsor, found he had difficulty breathing and was losing all color in his face. 

Doctors discovered that he suffers from “severe and progressively deteriorating neurological problems,” in the words of a Windsor Star reporter, and that there is no hope for recovery. They have recently decided to remove the breathing tube that keeps Joseph’s airway clear of fluids that would otherwise choke him.

With the breathing tube gone, his mom Sana said, Joseph “is going to die from the secretions because he can’t clear his airway.  He will die choking violently,” she said.

Moe and Sana have asked doctors to perform a tracheotomy surgery that would open a direct airway in the trachea through an incision in the neck.  Eight years ago their daughter died from similar complications; she had had a tracheotomy done and died at home.  Joseph’s parents want the same for him.

The Maraachli’s lawyer, Geoff Snow, said doctors won’t perform the tracheotomy because it’s considered too risky.

Earlier this month, Moe and Sana Maraachli took their case before the Consent and Capacity Board of Ontario, the body that deals with the Health Care Consent Act and other legislation.  The board sided with the doctors and the respirator removal was scheduled.  However, they were able to file an appeal last Thursday and the case will now go to the Superior Court.

“We want him to die peacefully,” Joseph’s mom said, according to the Windsor Star.

“My son is not brain dead. We know he has feelings, we know he has pain,” added Moe.  “As a father, I want to fight for my baby.”

“I have no idea why the London Health Sciences Centre would be putting such a legal and emotional burden upon the Maraachli family,” Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, told  “If there are complications related to the tracheotomy, well, the child is supposedly dying anyway.”

“The fact is that this family is living through an emotionally draining experience and all they want to do is love their son with the time that he may have left.  Why must the hospital impose their plan of death upon the family?” added Schadenberg.

Snow said, “You have a child who is going to die from this condition and you have his parents who want a procedure done that will allow them to take the child home and care for him themselves, versus doctors who have a range of concerns. It’s a debate over who’s right about his best interests – the parents or the board and the doctors.”

“I believe that whatever side of this issue you’re on, the system owes it to Joseph, to Joseph’s family and to society as a whole – because we’re dealing with an end-of-life case – to let the litigation play out at all stages and to hear their case all the way up.”

Laurie Gould, vice-president of women and children’s clinical services at the London Health Sciences Centre, which includes Victoria Hospital, said they are “complying with the direction of the Consent and Capacity Board and will continue to follow any subsequent directions following the appeal.”  “Our goal is to provide compassionate, dignified and respectful care to the patients and support for their families,” she said.

A court date has been set for Thursday to determine the case.