The baby who was hours from being pulled off life support at his Canadian hospital has been rescued by the national director of Priests for Life and taken to the U.S. for treatment.
Thirteen-month-old Joseph Maraachli, who is currently kept alive by a respirator and was recently denied a transfer to a Michigan hospital to undergo a tracheotomy, arrived in the U.S. early Monday morning with Fr. Frank Pavone and other Priests for Life staff.
"Priests for Life staff toiled through the night for many nights, working in concert with dozens of people to make this possible," Father Pavone said in a statement. "Now that we have won the battle against the medical bureaucracy in Canada, the real work of saving Baby Joseph can begin."
Maraachli was on his way to SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center in St. Louis, Mo., a non-profit health-care facility open to all children in need of medical care.
The boy suffers from a rare, progressive neurological disease which, Canadian doctors say, has left him in a vegetative state beyond recovery. He has been at the Children’s Hospital in London, Ontario, since the fall.
Doctors in Canada said the illness is irreversible and wanted to remove the breathing tube. His parents appealed to Canadian courts, but the hospital's decision was upheld.
Priests for Life says it represents a family of ministries that "reach and enrich every aspect of the pro-life movement," according to its website. The group has been strong advocates for the boy's release and critical of his treatment in Canada.
"The medical board overseeing his case is apparently convinced that giving proper care to 'Baby Joseph' is futile," the website reads. "They don’t mean that the medical care won’t help him. They mean his life in its current condition isn’t worth the trouble."
The Associated Press contributed to this report