Right to Life of Michigan Supports Medical  

Care Efforts by Baby Joseph's Parents

Right to Life of Michigan (RLM), Michigan's largest grassroots prolife organization, expressed its support for the rights of a terminally ill baby boy being treated in an Ontario Canada hospital. A team of volunteers who have rallied around Joseph Maraachli and his parents has been consulting with RLM since early last week when there was some discussion of transferring Baby Joseph to a hospital in Michigan.

Though negotiations between the family and the Canadian hospital no longer involve a possible transfer to Michigan, Right to Life of Michigan remains keenly interested and involved in monitoring this tragic case. RLM Legislative Director Ed Rivet has been in daily communication with the team in Canada and has carefully reviewed the primary document being used to deny Joseph's parents the right to direct his medical care.

"The facts and events surrounding this case are convoluted, but the position of the hospital is clear. The medical team believes that Baby Joseph should have a medically-orchestrated death, rather than allow him to be taken home and given hospice care by his family," Rivet said. "That not only violates Joseph's right to compassionate end-of-life care, it completely tramples on his parents' rights to make decisions and care for him. The medical establishment is wrongly substituting their values and ethics for that of the parents."

The family has requested that a tracheostomy tube be inserted so that Joseph could breathe on his own and then be allowed to go home. Rivet cited a ruling by the Ontario medical Consent and Capacity Board (CCB), which sides with the hospital, that Joseph should die immediately by removing the ventilator and sedating him. The CCB report admits the parents' request is a viable option and shows the medical establishment's bias against the family's wish to care for their son. "A tracheostomy would likely provide for a longer period of life, however, in our view would not result in improvement of well-being and could reduce quality of life." (CCB report, p. 10)

"We stand strongly behind the rights of Joseph's parents and we urge the hospital to swiftly respect those rights and return Joseph to the loving care of his family," Rivet added.


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