Health

Hospital Agrees to Send "Baby Joseph" Home to Die

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

In a heartbreaking story out of Canada, a hospital has given in to demands from the parents of a terminally ill baby. It has agreed to send the pair's baby boy home so he can die there. However, the hospital is still refusing to perform a procedure that would prolong -- but not save the baby's life.

Joseph Maraachli, a 13-month-old, has a fatal neuro-degenerative disease. He can only survive on a ventilator. His parents want doctors to perform a tracheotomy so he can breathe without the respirator. The couple had a child eight years ago with the same disease. She lived for six months after a tracheotomy.

But the London Health Sciences Center in Ontario won't do the procedure, saying it would only prolong Joseph's suffering. Instead, doctors want to turn off the ventilator and let him die at the hospital.

Even though it won in court, the hospital relented on Monday, allowing Joseph to go home with the respirator and have it turned off when he gets there so he can pass away surrounded by his family.

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It's not clear yet if the parents will accept the hospital's decision or continue to fight for the tracheotomy.

The family had hoped that a hospital in Detroit would take the baby and perform the tracheotomy, but the hospital refused, the Toronto Sun reported.

As the case gained publicity, the hospital started receiving threats, most of them coming from the U.S., according to London Deputy Police Chief Ian Peer. "South of the border people seem to be quite emotional and happy to share their opinions," he said.

Right-wing pundits are calling this a case of "assisted suicide."

"It's disgusting," Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel said. "In Canada there's a culture where doctors know that the government of Ontario is going to back them up on this where they basically are involved with assisted suicide."