In a horribly sad story out of Canada, a 13-month-old baby that has been on life support since last fall has been the subject of a court battle between his parents, a Catholic organization, and the hospital that has been caring for him. While this isn't a story that is likely to end well, at least baby Joseph Maraachli will be able to join his parents at home soon.
Baby Joseph has a progressive neurological disease that, according to doctors at the Children's Hospital in London, Ontario, is fatal. The hospital says he is in a vegetative state and the illness is irreversible. Which is unbelievable when you see the video of the little boy from February, where he looks like a normal baby. It's enough to make you break down and cry. While the hospital advocated to remove Joseph from life support, the parents have been fighting for a second opinion. Finally, they won that fight.
But I have to wonder, why would a hospital even make parents go through this?
While I found this story on Fox News, and they like to imply that it's that danged Canadian health care system, what with its death panels, that isn't likely the case. It sounds like the hospital made a call that this baby could not live on his own, and they maintain the care they gave to Joseph was medically, and ethically, correct. His parents only asked that he be given a tracheotomy so he could breathe on his own, and then come home with them to die. The hospital states that is an invasive procedure and they would not recommend it, but I have to think at some point you have to have some compassion for parents who are facing the worst.
Instead, the Maraachlis have had to fly Joseph to a hospital in St. Louis for a second opinion, and hopefully have their wishes respected. The surgery to allow Joseph on a portable breathing machine will likely take place later this week.
Even though Joseph's father described this news as "happy," it's got to be the most heart-breaking thing in the world. Regardless, the parents should be allowed to make the call -- not a hospital. I really hope it wasn't a matter of number crunching on the hospital's part. Because that's simply unacceptable.
Do you think the hospital was in the right here?
Image via Children's Hospital, London, Ontario