Baby Joseph, focus of end-of-life debate, dies at home in Windsor

  • September 28, 2011

TORONTO - Baby Joseph Maraachli, who had been at the centre of a legal battle between his parents and doctors, died on Sept. 27 surrounded by his family.

Joseph's father, Moe, told The Catholic Register that the funeral for the 18-month old child was held Sept. 28.

Br. Paul O'Donnell, Major Superior of the Minnesota-based Franciscan Brothers of Peace, announced the death on Facebook: "(Baby Joseph) passed away peacefully at home with his parents and family at his side. Praise God he had seven precious months with his family to be surrounded by love and was not put to death at the hands of doctors,” he wrote.

Maraachli's court case attracted international attention. His parents appealed an Ontario medical board's ruling that ordered his breathing tube be removed on Feb. 21. The parents fought to have doctors at London Health Sciences Centre  in London, Ont. perform a tracheotomy to extend Baby Joseph's life.

The child suffered from a terminal neurological disorder that affected his motor skills and ability to breathe normally. The doctors said a tracheotomy would be invasive and futile.

The parents argued that the doctor's decision violated their rights to care for their child at home.

“Okay, he has problems, but give him treatment. Let him die in our arms,” Moe Maraachli said at the time.

Pro-life and Christian groups rallied around the family and the Washington-based American Center for Law and Justice provided legal counsel for the family. Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Centre in St. Louis agreed to take Baby Joseph and perform the tracheotomy. Baby Joseph returned to his Windsor home on April 21.

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