Baby Joseph Maraachli, a 14-month-old Canadian boy, whose health issue had sparked an international debate returned home to be with his family at last.
The little boy has Leigh syndrome which is a fatal neurological disease leaving him little more than a vegetable. His inability to breathe could be resolved only through a surgery that opened his windpipe with a ventilator attached. His Canadian doctors at London Health Sciences Centre in Ontario were not ready to do this since they felt the surgery would be too invasive a procedure for a child with a fatal illness. Moreover, it would delay his death by just a few months. Right-to-die advocates supported this viewpoint because Joseph would be dependent on a machine to breathe for him.
After the matter reached the courts, the case was brought to the Consent and Capacity Board, an independent body created by the government of Ontario, and then a Supreme Court judge. Both bodies passed the ruling that Baby Joseph's breathing tube should be removed. Canada has a publicly funded medical system that gives the government the right to enforce its will on health issues.
With the help of pro-life activists, especially the Priests for Life, an organization which lobbies against abortion rights and euthanasia, Joseph was brought to St. Louis. Doctors at Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center agreed to do the surgery. They did a tracheotomy on him and he responded well.
Joseph is now back with his family in Windsor, after having been examined by David Musyj, head of Windsor Regional Hospital, who declared that, everything looked fine. He is able to breathe on his own without the aid of a ventilator, proving the critics wrong.
Moe Maraachli, his father had said it was better that his child died from his disease rather than an inability to breathe.