The parents of a Canadian boy ordered off life support by government health officials are pinning their hopes on Michigan Children's Hospital in Detroit.
Moe Maraachli and his wife, Sana Nader, of Windsor, Ontario, are asking the Detroit hospital to accept their 13-month-old son, Joseph, currently kept alive by a respirator at a Canadian hospital. The family wants Michigan Children’s Hospital to perform a tracheotomy on the child, who suffers from a rare, progressive neurological disease which, Canadian doctors say, has left him in a vegetative state beyond recovery.
Joseph’s parents believe that if the Detroit hospital will accept the child and conduct the operation, in which doctors would place a breathing tube in his windpipe, he could be cared for at home.
But time could quickly be running out.
Canadian health care allocation officials already ruled that Joseph had to be taken off life support and allowed to die in the hospital. A Canadian judge then ruled that Moe Maraachli had to give his consent to having the breathing tube removed by Monday. He refused.
Maraachli says turning off life support could cause his son to choke and suffocate. He told Fox News on Wednesday that the doctors at London Health Sciences Centre have said the “best treatment” is to “let him die… I don’t know what kind of treatment that [is].”
The family believes this procedure will allow Joseph to breathe on his own, and thereby be able to go home and likely die there.
Doctors are now asking the Canadian government to allow them to remove the breathing tube without the family’s consent. The Ontario hospital contends that a tracheotomy would be painful for the boy, despite their argument that Joseph is in a vegetative state.
But officials there appear to be cooperating with the transfer request, noting in a statement, “We can confirm that we have sent the medical record, which is over 1,000 pages to the Children's Hospital of Michigan...This is an extremely difficult time for the family, and our goal is to continue to provide compassionate care and support to baby Joseph and his family."
The London Health Services Centre says it will wait until it hears back from the Detroit hospital before making any further decisions about life support.
Molly Henneberg joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in 2002 and currently serves as a correspondent based in the Washington bureau.