US & Canada

Joseph Maraachli: End-of-life row toddler moved to US

Father Frank Pavone, Joseph Maraachli and Moe Maraachli, in a hand-out photo from Priests for Life
Image caption Joseph Maraachli will die as soon as he is removed from a ventilator, Canadian doctors say

Parents of a terminally ill Canadian boy have transferred him to a US Catholic hospital after an Ontario court ruled doctors could remove a breathing tube keeping him alive.

Joseph Maraachli, aged one, is in a vegetative state with a severe neurological condition and will not recover, Canadian doctors say.

An Ontario hospital refused his parents' request for a tracheotomy they say will prolong his life by six months and allow him to die at home.

A Catholic hospital in the US city of St Louis will review his case, a family lawyer said.

'Die comfortably'

Joseph had been at London Health Sciences Centre since October, where doctors say he will die as soon as he is removed from a ventilator. The Ontario hospital had agreed to transfer him to the family home before doing so.

But the child's family said removal of the ventilator would cause him to choke painfully to death, and asked doctors to perform a tracheotomy that they said would allow him to die more comfortably and slowly.

The hospital has said the procedure is not medically necessary and will not treat the boy's condition and refused to authorise it.

Joseph was flown to the Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St Louis in the US state of Missouri on Sunday.

The transfer on a private jet was sponsored by Priests for Life, a US anti-abortion group whose head said in a statement he had "won the battle against the medical bureaucracy in Canada".

Joseph's parents, Moe Maraachli and Sana Nader - from Windsor, Ontario - had defied a Canadian court's order to allow doctors to remove the boy's breathing tube.

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