'Baby Joseph' Makes Progress After Surgery, Prognosis Still Grim

"Baby Joseph," who made headlines after a Canadian hospital determined he should be pulled from life support last month, responded well to an operation Monday and is making a "good recovery," said the SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis.

Joseph Maraachli underwent a tracheotomy and is set to have his tracheotomy tube changed for the first time in a few days. Doctors called the procedure an important step toward his transfer to a skilled nursing facility, according to Dr. Robert Wilmott, the chief of pediatrics at the hospital.

"We have not seen evidence that he is experiencing any discomfort from the recent surgery," said Wilmott.

The baby’s long-term prognosis remains grim. He has a progressive neurological disease and doctors' expectations are tempered.

The operation was considered palliative. The stated goal was to ultimately allow the baby to go home with his family in Windsor, Ontario, where he could live the remainder of his days pain free.

Doctors are hopeful that after the procedures, the family will be able to hold "Baby Joseph" and not be limited to comforting him while standing over a hospital bed.

"We wanted to ensure that Joseph was as comfortable and as secure as possible," said Wilmott.

"Baby Joseph" is expected to stay in the pediatric intensive care unit at SSM Cardinal Glennon for another week before a move to a pediatric specialty hospital in St. Louis.